"I've been hanging out with a murderer and didn't know it": Grate's friend laments on relationship

Posted at 7:41 PM, Sep 19, 2016

As details continue to unfold about the alleged serial killer Shawn Michael Grate, and possibly four bodies of women he's killed, Newsnet5's Lauren Wilson spoke exclusively with an old friend of his about what kind of person Grate really was or at least appeared to be.

The two were very close friends for about a year in a half, and he said Shawn was nothing but a gentleman, until one day a different side came out, and that's when it all changed.

Hanging out was a regular occurrence for Tim Denis and his buddy Shawn Grate. 

"Sometimes we would get together maybe four times a week... so just a lot of casual hanging out stuff that we did here at my house," he said.

The two met at a farmers market back in 2013 while Grate was selling his assortment of handmade signs.

"He and I got to talking and the more we talked, the more we just kind of hit it off," Denis said.

He told me when they were together, Grate barely looked, let alone lusted after women; it was actually quite the opposite.

"He said 'really I think I like men more than women' is the way he put it, so he never really said he was gay or not gay, but that was kind of his indication."

All was well with them until one day Grate asked Denis to borrow $1,500. Tim declined, and that's when their relationship took a strange turn.

"He called me every name in the book started like putting these verbal purses on me," Denis said.

In one of those text messages, Grate threatened to give him bedbugs, but that wasn't the worst part.

"The part they got me was the conclusion he made the statement 'meet the other me' and when I saw that I just got chills," said Denis.

The next morning, Grate flipped, sending a 'good morning' text message, as if nothing happened.

"Are you kidding me? You know it's like 'maybe I was talking to Mr. Hyde last night, and now it's Mr. Jekyll today.'"

Their relationship fell apart from there, and knowing what he knows now Denis said he's grateful he saw the signs when he did.

"I've been hanging out with a murderer, and I didn't even know it."

Tim and Shawn last saw each other at a storefront in downtown Mansfield, which is now abandoned. It's where Grate use to work and live.

Their interaction was back in the spring of 2015, and Denis says he hasn't heard from Grate since then.