An 51-year-old Ohio serial killer who murdered 11 women was sentenced to death today.
Anthony Sowell should die by lethal injection for his crimes, Judge Dick Ambrose ruled, accepting the sentencing recommendation of the jury that convicted Sowell of aggravated murder.
Sowell’s behavior in court was stubborn; he did not look at his victims’ relatives as they spoke during the sentencing hearing and he ignored the judge when asked if he wanted to speak. He didn’t move when the judge asked him to sign a court document either.
“That’s his personality,” defense attorney Rufus Sims said later.
Sowell was arrested on Oct. 31, 2009, two days after police went to his Cleveland house on a sexual-assault complaint and began finding bodies. He went on trial in June and was convicted July 22 on 82 counts: aggravated murder, kidnapping, corpse abuse and evidence tampering.
Sowell’s victims began disappearing in 2007. Prosecutors say he lured them to his home with the promise of alcohol or drugs. Police discovered the first two bodies and a freshly dug grave in late 2009 after officers went to investigate a woman’s report that she had been raped there.
Many of the women had been missing for weeks or months, and some had criminal records. They were disposed of in garbage bags and plastic sheets, then dumped in various parts of the house and yard. There was little left of one victim: a skull in a plastic bucket with non-human bite marks on the edge. They had been strangled with household items and had traces of cocaine or depressants in their systems.
Sowell wasn’t subject to cross-examination, so prosecutors never got to question why he killed the women and lived in the house for two years with their remains bagged in corners or buried in the backyard.
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