Sunday, August 19, 2012

Anthony Sowell Guilty

Anthony Sowell Guilty - A Cleveland jury on Friday found ex-Marine and convicted rapist Anthony Sowell guilty of the serial killing of 11 women whose decomposed remains were found in and around his home. Sowell, 51, faces the possibility of the death penalty. Many of the victims had histories of drug problems or were transients, and their disappearances were not always immediately reported to police. Sowell, who had a previous conviction for raping a pregnant woman, had claimed that bad smells in the area came from a nearby sausage factory.

Police discovered the first two bodies in 2009 after executing a search warrant for Sowell’s arrest in response to an assault and rape charge.

In total, more women’s bodies were found in and around Sowell’s Cleveland house.

Two were found on the third floor, partially covered; one was in a plastic bag in pieces; another was covered with dirt in a crawl space. Two bodies were found in the basement — one covered in dirt under the stairs, and one skull wrapped in plastic in a red bucket.

Five bodies were found in the backyard, all wrapped in plastic in shallow graves.

Sowell came to live in the Imperial Avenue house with his stepmother after serving 15 years in prison for rape. A balding man with glasses of medium height, he was described by neighbors as helpful, and a snappy dresser.

The first of the 11 homicides occurred in the house in 2007. The house had tenants who moved out after complaining about the smell.

Sowell was arrested shortly after one surviving victim jumped naked out of a window after being raped. At first, she claimed she had been in a car accident, but later told police she was attacked after seeing the bodies recovered from his house.

After police took Sowell in for questioning, he was told about six bodies found at his house and one in the backyard. Sowell responded, “Oh, those,” using the plural when only one body had been found in the backyard at the time, according to police testimony.

In a videotaped interrogation by police, Sowell talked about meeting women and bringing them to his house. But he never gives any details about what happened to them or how their remains came to be in his house. “Maybe all I did was strangle … that’s what I did,” he says.

Most of the victims were strangled. Some victims were so badly decomposed that the cause of death could not be determined.

The jury found Sowell guilty on 82 of 83 counts — the not guilty on a single charge of stealing $11 from a surviving assault victim.

A fierce thunderstorm raged outside the courtroom windows as the verdicts were read. Some family members of victims wept, while others nodded their heads in agreement with the guilty counts.

Sowell blinked rapidly but otherwise showed no emotion as the verdicts were read.

After he was told of his right to appeal, he refused to look at Judge Dick Ambrose, and yawned. As he left the courtroom, he put his fists up in the air.

In closing arguments, the prosecution called Sowell a “vile and disgusting” serial killer. The 62 prosecution witnesses included women who said they had fled Sowell’s house after being attacked.

One prosecution witness was Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s niece, Lori Frazier, an ex-girlfriend of Sowell, who said he suffered a series of suspicious injuries. Once she saw a deep gash across his head and blood on the floor and walls that he said were the result of a struggle with an intruder.

Family members of some victims have filed suit against the city, complaining about the police’s handling of the case. The father of one of the victims said his concerns were dismissed by police because of his daughter’s history of drug use.

The defense called no witnesses, but criticized the state’s handling of the crime scene investigation and some of the women who testified against Sowell.

The murder victims are Diane Turner, Telacia Fortson, Janice Webb, Nancy Cobbs, Tonia Carmichael, Tishana Culver, Leshanda Long, Amelda Hunter, Michelle Mason, Crystal Dozier and Kim Smith.

Jurors deliberated for about 15 hours before reaching a verdict. On August 1 begins the mitigation phase of the trial, when the jury must determine whether Sowell should be expected.

Anthony Sowell Guilty Rating: 4.5 Diposkan Oleh: Arm Aritn

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