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    1. #1
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      Oct 2010

      Anthony Sowell - Ohio Death Row

      Six badly decomposed bodies found at the home of a convicted rapist facing a new rape allegation were females and all were homicide victims, the coroner's office said Sunday.

      Powell Caesar, a spokesman for Cuyahoga County Coroner Frank Miller, said at least four of the victims apparently had been strangled. Decomposition made it difficult to determine how two victims died, he said.

      None of the victims has been identified, Caesar said. Two victims were black, but race hadn't yet been determined in the other four bodies, he said.

      Anthony Sowell, 50, of Cleveland, was arrested Saturday when officers spotted him walking down the street of his eastside neighborhood.

      Police found the first two bodies Thursday night when they went to Sowell's home to arrest him on a new rape charge. Police said Sowell spent 15 years in prison for a rape in 1989.

      On Friday, police found a third body and remains that were confirmed on Saturday to be three additional bodies.

      People who knew Sowell said he often walked around his neighborhood looking for scrap metal to sell and asking for money.

      Police urged the public for help Sunday in identifying missing people who may have been victims.


    2. #2
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      Oct 2010
      Convicted rapist could face death penalty

      CLEVELAND - A convicted rapist who lived in a home with 10 bodies was ordered held without bond Wednesday as a prosecutor called him "an incredibly dangerous threat" and said he could face the death penalty if convicted.

      Anthony Sowell appeared in court under tight security, wearing a blue paper jumpsuit typically used when an inmate might be a suicide risk. His wrists and ankles were manacled, and he walked into court with a stutter step.

      During the brief appearance, Sowell acknowledged his understanding of the charges - five aggravated murder counts for the first victims whose cause of death has been ruled strangling. In addition, he faces charges of rape, felonious assault and kidnapping for a Sept. 22 attack on a woman at his home.

      Sowell responded, "That's correct," when Municipal Court Judge Ronald Adrine asked him if he was unable to afford an attorney and needed one assigned by the court.

      Public defender Kathleen DeMetz told the judge that Sowell has medical problems, including a heart pacemaker and cardiac medication. He was laid off two years ago and receives unemployment compensation.

      The case now goes before the county grand jury.

      Police discovered the first six bodies Thursday and Friday after a woman reported being raped at Sowell's home. Investigators said they found one body in a shallow grave in the backyard. The rest were inside the house - one in the basement, two in the third-floor living room and two in an upstairs crawl space.

      They found four more bodies Tuesday in Sowell's backyard, as well as a skull wrapped in paper inside a bucket in his basement.

      After Sowell's court appearance, deputy Police Chief Ed Tomba said investigators have finished digging through the backyard and will begin tearing apart walls inside the house Wednesday in search of more evidence or bodies.

      "We're going to go bit by bit, piece by piece," he said. "It appears that this man had an insatiable appetite that he had to fill," McGrath said.

      The Cuyahoga County coroner hasn't identified any of the bodies but is trying to do so through DNA and dental records. The six found last week were black, and five of them were strangled.

      "What kind of man was this?" wondered Regina Woodland, who lives about two blocks away. "He couldn't have been human."

      A crowd of around 100 people milled about and chatted near the home Tuesday evening. A short while later, around 50 people joined hands and put their arms around each other in the middle of the street and prayed aloud.

      One of those in the crowd, Antoinnette Dudley, 29, lives a few houses away. She said she could smell a terrible odour like something was dead all summer. She said she saw Sowell only a few times, mainly drinking beer while he sat on his porch.

      "I didn't think he was that sick," she said.

      As a registered sex offender, Sowell was required to check in regularly at the sheriff's office. Officers didn't have the right to enter his house, but they would stop by to make sure he was there. Their most recent visit was Sept. 22, just hours before the woman reported being raped.

      For the past few years, Sowell's neighbours thought the foul smell enveloping their street corner had been coming from a brick building where workers churned out sausage and head cheese. It got so bad that the owners of Ray's Sausage replaced their sewer line and grease traps.


    3. #3
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      Oct 2010
      11th woman discovered in Cleveland death house

      CLEVELAND - The number of women found dead in the home of a convicted sex offender rose to 11 yesterday as police announced their first identification of one of the victims.

      The victim, Tonia Carmichael, was 52 when she disappeared last November, Cleveland police said. She lived in Warrensville Heights, a Cleveland suburb, but her car was found about a mile from the Imperial Avenue home of the sex offender, Anthony Sowell, police said.

      The victim's mother, Donnita Carmichael, told the (Cleveland) Plain Dealer: "We expected the worst when these bodies started popping up. We knew she could be one of them."

      The remains were buried in Sowell's backyard, police said. It appeared that Ms. Carmichael had been strangled.

      Lt. Thomas Stacho, a police spokesman, said the coroner's office had determined that a skull found in a bucket in the basement of Sowell's home belonged to an 11th victim, not one of 10 other women whose bodies had been found.

      In his initial court appearance, Sowell was denied bond yesterday. He faces five murder charges and one charge of rape, with more charges likely, police said.

      "After 26 years on this bench, this is by far the most serious set of allegations I've ever faced," Ronald Adrine, a municipal court judge, said as he bound the case over to a county grand jury.

      Sowell, 50, is likely to be charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty, an assistant county prosecutor, Brian P. Murphy, said in court.

      Concerned that they might find more bodies, police officers and sheriff's deputies planned to search unsecured abandoned houses within a half-mile radius of Sowell's house, Deputy Police Chief Edward Tomba said.

      There have been foreclosures in the neighborhood and many homes are boarded up.

      The neighborhood is the type of place where women can disappear almost in plain sight. It is an area where crack users sneak into vacant houses to do drugs, have sex, or steal copper pipes and wiring to make a few bucks.

      Where no one asks a lot of questions, even about the smell of rotting meat that came when the wind blew a certain way.

      No one is sure how long Sowell, a registered sex offender who would offer free barbecue to the neighbors, had been living in his three-story house with corpses lying around.

      But if Sowell's street is seedy, it's far from abandoned. Occupied homes are sandwiched between vacant, boarded-up houses and scattered small businesses with a steady stream of customers.

      "We're not talking about some desolate area, some abandoned barn," said Councilman Zach Reed, whose mother lives a block away. "How did somebody get away with this in a residential neighborhood?"

      Relatives of presumed victims charge that police ignored their missing person reports.

      Mr. Reed is demanding an inquiry into how crime reports in the neighborhood were handled.

    4. #4
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      Oct 2010
      Ohioan accused of living with bodies indicted

      CLEVELAND — A Cleveland man who police say was living with ten dead bodies and a skull has been indicted on 85 counts, including 11 counts of aggravated murder.

      Cuyahoga (ky-uh-HOH’-guh) County Prosecutor Bill Mason was announcing the indictments Tuesday afternoon in the case against 50-year-old Anthony Sowell.

      The prosecutor expects to seek the death penalty.

      Sowell’s home was searched for three weeks after a woman said she had been attacked there by Sowell on Sept. 22. He has been charged with attempted murder and other charges in the alleged attack and has pleaded not guilty.


    5. #5
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      Oct 2010
      Anthony Sowell asks judge to move trial, throw out death penalty option

      CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland man accused of killing 11 women and keeping their remains at his house on Imperial Avenue asked a judge this morning to move his trial outside the area because the case has received so much publicity here.

      Anthony Sowell, 50, made the request at a pretrial hearing in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold's courtroom. Saffold denied the motion.

      Sowell's attorney, John Parker, said an impartial jury would be impossible to find in Cuyahoga County because of the tremendous amount of publicity in the case.

      Saffold said if a jury was found to hear the case against Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in the jurisdiction where the crimes occurred, she was confident that Cuyahoga County could do the same.

      Actually, McVeigh asked for and received a change of venue. His trial was not held in Oklahoma City, but in U.S. District Court in Denver, Colo.

      Judge Saffold said the court would take a wait-and-see approach and might be willing to revisit the request if jury selection proves problematic.

      Sowell's lawyers also asked that the death penalty specifications charged in the case be dismissed. Parker noted that in handing up the indictment against Sowell, the grand jury did not hear any evidence or testimony against the death penalty.


    6. #6
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      Oct 2010
      Attorneys for Anthony Sowell ask for indictment to be thrown out

      CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The attorneys representing Anthony Sowell asked a judge this week to throw out the charges against him or ban law enforcement from speaking with him.

      The move came days after East Cleveland police spoke with Sowell without his lawyers present. He accused of killing 11 women at his house on Imperial Avenue.

      Sowell's attorneys, John Parker and Rufus Sims, said in two motionsfiled in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, (pdf) that Sowell was interrogated by two East Cleveland detectives without their knowledge on Feb. 12 about a string of crimes in 1989.

      The crimes involved the killing of several women found dead inside of abandoned buildings in the city or reported missing. The crimes were never solved.

      From the meeting, police were able to confirm that Sowell knew Mary Cox, one of the woman who went missing during the time period. He lived in East Cleveland from 1985 to 1990.

      Sowell was charged in December with multiple counts of aggravated murder after the remains of 11 women were found decomposing at his Imperial Avenue home. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty against Sowell, who is being held in the County Jail with bond set at $6 million.

      The motions Sowell's lawyers filed suggest that he was not read his Miranda rights prior to the interview with East Cleveland police.

      In response, his attorneys want a judge to restricted law enforcement officers from speaking with him without them being present.

      "We think what happened with police speaking with him without us when he has attorneys is outrageous conduct," Sims said. "It is shocking and violates Miranda."

      East Cleveland officials said officers did not violate Sowell's rights.

      City Prosecutor Willa Hemmons said the officers were able to speak with Sowell because he voluntarily spoke with them.

      "I'm sure when our officers spoke with him everything was done by law and procedure," Hemmons said. "It is the right of the person, not the attorney."

      Sowell is due in court this week for a hearing. It is not clear if Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold will rule on the motions


    7. #7
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      Oct 2010
      Attempted murder charge for suspect in 11 deaths

      CLEVELAND — The man suspected of killing 11 women whose bodies were found in and around his Cleveland home has been indicted on attempted murder, kidnapping and felonious assault charges.

      Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason said Thursday that a grand jury returned the three-count indictment against 50-year-old Anthony Sowell. He’s already facing a possible death penalty in the 11 deaths.

      The latest charges involve an alleged attack on a 42-year-old Cleveland woman at Sowell’s home.

      The prosecutor says his office is still investigating unsolved homicides for the period when Sowell lived in Cleveland and the nearby community of East Cleveland.


    8. #8
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      Oct 2010
      Attack evidence OK'd in Ohio serial-killer case

      CLEVELAND – Prosecutors can present trial evidence about women who say they survived attacks by a suspected serial killer charged in the deaths of 11 women, a judge ruled Wednesday.

      Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold granted the motion by prosecutors, who expect to submit evidence involving three or four women who say they survived attacks by Anthony Sowell, 50.

      The prosecution wants jurors to hear evidence from survivors to show a pattern, assistant prosecutor Richard Bombik said. "They were all very similar," he said.

      "The only difference between them and the 11 homicide victims is they escaped and lived to talk about it," Bombik said. "It all shows a pattern on his part."

      The defense had asked the judge to rule out the survivor evidence.

      Sowell, who sat handcuffed and watched impassively during the pretrial hearing, has pleaded not guilty to charges including aggravated murder, rape, assault and corpse abuse.

      He could get the death penalty if convicted of any of the killings.

      Authorities have said he lured vulnerable women, typically homeless or living alone and with drug or alcohol addictions, to his home and attacked them. Their remains were found in and around his home last fall.

      The defense team of John Parker and Rufus Sims told the judge they cannot be ready for the scheduled June 2 trial date. The defense hasn't received copies of DNA evidence or autopsy reports and hasn't lined up outside experts to challenge the evidence, they said.

      The judge turned aside a request to postpone the trial and told the defense to keep working with an eye toward a June trial.

      The judge also said she was concerned about news media distractions and said she might consider banning reporters from the trial. She didn't elaborate but made the comment during a discussion of a leaked psychiatric report on Sowell.

      The report, first covered in November by The Plain Dealer newspaper, led Saffold to threaten last week to arrest the reporter who wrote the story if the source of the leak wasn't disclosed. She backed off when another judge said he had leaked the report.

      The defense pressed the judge to hold a hearing on the leak, which they argued calls into question the integrity of the judiciary in Cleveland and risks Sowell's chance for a fair trial in Cleveland. The defense wants the trial moved elsewhere.

      The judge said she didn't think Sowell's right to a fair trial had been jeopardized.

      Bombik said Sowell's trial would attract widespread media attention even if it were moved out of Cleveland.


    9. #9
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      Oct 2010
      Anthony Sowell, accused of killing 11 women, to go on trial Sept. 7

      The case of accused serial-killer Anthony Sowell resumed before a new judge Thursday with requests that the trial date be pushed back, that a gag order be instituted and that round-the-clock police protection of the crime scene be reduced.

      Sowell, 50, is accused of killing 11 women whose remains were found last fall at his house on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland.

      Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose is now presiding over his case after the Ohio Supreme Court removed Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold to avoid any appearance of bias or impropriety.

      In a hearing Thursday, Ambrose set a trial date of Sept. 7. Sowell was to go on trial June 2. He waived his speedy trial rights.

      Sowell's attorneys, Rufus Sims and John Parker, said in a motion seeking a new trial date that they need more time to prepare. They expect the trial to last about two months and include extensive scientific evidence.

      Prosecutors filed 85 counts against Sowell after investigators found the women's bodies last October. These charges also include 2 rapes and an attempted rape. 3 counts of attempted murder were added in February and a rape charge was added in April. He faces the death penalty, if convicted.

      Ambrose did not rule on a motion for a gag order, which was filed by Sims and Parker on Thursday. They said it is needed to ensure a fair trial.

      The judge also did not rule on a request to reduce protection of Sowell's home, which was filed by assistant county prosecutors Richard Bombik and Pinkey Carr.

      The prosecutors said a fence costing more than $15,000 was put up around the home after Sowell was arrested and the Cleveland Police and Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department are sharing a 24/7 detail outside the house. They would like to modify that to nighttime hours.

      Sims said after the hearing the house needs to be protected because of threats to burn it down.

      (source: Plain Dealer)

    10. #10
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      Oct 2010
      Anthony Sowell's murder trial likely to push costs to unseen amounts in Cuyahoga County

      CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Evidence, experts and expenses in the trial of serial-killing suspect Anthony Sowell are likely to surpass any previous capital murder case in Cuyahoga County.

      As of last week, $103,917 had been approved by the court to pay experts hired by defense lawyers Rufus Sims and John Parker and fees for Parker, Sims and a paralegal, according to court filings. And the trial is still several months away. Sims and Parker, appointed to the case, are paid $95 an hour.

      The lawyers are working with a mental health expert, investigator, mitigation consultant, mitigation investigator and forensic consultant, according to payment requests made to the court.

      In addition, the attorneys are reviewing 4,500 photographs, 10 of 11 autopsy reports and other evidence related to the case. The defense is waiting on DNA and forensic reports.

      A forensic expert hired by the defense went through Sowell's home this month and gathered more evidence, Sims said.

      Sowell, 50, is accused of killing 11 women whose remains were found last fall at his house on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland. He is charged with multiple counts of aggravated murder, kidnapping, abusing a human corpse and tampering with evidence. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 7, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

      Judge Dick Ambrose has ordered defense attorneys and prosecutors to share information, including whom they plan to call as expert witnesses.

      Ambrose has asked the Cuyahoga County Jury Commission to provide 200 prospective jurors. He has said the trial will be held in Cuyahoga County unless it becomes clear during jury selection that pretrial publicity has made it impossible for Sowell to receive a fair trial.

      Ambrose had barred cameras and recording devices from pretrial sessions and jury selection but, after reviewing legal opinions, decided they will be allowed in court during any proceedings open to the public. The next pretrial hearing is June 30.

      Also last week, a wrongful-death lawsuit was filed against Sowell by Florence Bray, the mother of victim Crystal Dozier. The families of other victims are expected to join the suit, said attorney David Malik.'

      The lawsuit also demands that Sowell and any family members do not financially benefit from books, movies, plays or any other medium that tells the story of what happened on Imperial Avenue.

      Malik sent a copy of the suit to the Ohio Court of Claims. By state law, it will establish a victim account. Any money made by Sowell or his family will be deposited into that account and disbursed to victims.


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