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Anthony Sowell-Serial Killer of 11 Women 

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Old 04-16-2018, 11:46 AM
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Anthony Sowell-Serial Killer of 11 Women

Anthony Edward Sowell was a serial killer convicted of murdering 11 women over a two-year period, hiding eight bodies in his house and burying three more in his back yard. Two bodies, unattended for two years, were left just lying on the floor of the small third floor apartment which had been created from attic space. When the bodies were removed their goo left an outline of their bodies on the floor. Another body was hidden inside the wall. More bodies were hidden in a crawl space in the house. A severed head was found in a bucket in the basement.

Sowell was 50 years old at the time of his arrest. He lured the women to his house, an old duplex converted to a single family residence, with alcohol and drugs. For years the smell of dead bodies was so bad that the local convenience store couldn't keep enough air freshener in stock. The smell was blamed on Ray's Sausage Factory next door to Sowell's house. They spent $10,000 cleaning the factory and replacing their sewer system. Of course, the smell never went away. Even on the hottest of days and with no air conditioning people would close their windows and doors in an attempt to keep the stench out of their homes.

Sowell was an ex-convict and registered sex offender. As such, he was subjected to surprise visits from the Cleveland Police Department on several occasions. However, by law, they were not allowed to enter the house. When a woman pressed charges against him police entered the house and arrested him. The charges were later dropped. The foul odor was not investigated.

Sowell was raised in East Cleveland, one of seven children born to single mother Claudia "Gertude" Garrison. Seven other children belonging to Sowell's sister also lived in the household, having moved in after the death of their chronically ill mother. According to Sowell's niece, Garrison subjected the siblings to physical abuse while the sister's children watched from adjacent rooms. In one incident, Garrison forced her daughter (Sowell's sister) to strip naked in front of the other children, then whipped her with electrical cords until she bled. Sowell himself began raping one of his nieces on an almost daily basis for two years, starting when she was eleven.

At the age of 19, Sowell entered the United States Marine Corps on January 24, 1978. He was discharged on January 18, 1985. During his seven-year Marine Corps career, Corporal Sowell received a Good Conduct Medal with one service star, a Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, a Certificate of Commendation, a Meritorious Mast, and two Letters of Appreciation.

In 1989 Sowell was charged with kidnapping, rape and attempted rape. He eventually pleaded guilty to the charge of attempted rape, and as a result he served 15 years in prison. He was released in 2005.

On November 5, 2009, the first and second of the eleven victims were identified. The first to be identified was Tonia Carmichael, a 53-year-old African American woman who had disappeared more than a year earlier. Her body was found buried in his backyard. She appeared to have been strangled and was identified through the use of DNA evidence. Her mother had reported her missing in December 2008.

The second victim was identified as Telacia Fortson, a 31-year-old African American woman who had disappeared five months earlier. Although she had been missing since June, her mother did not report her missing until she heard the news coverage regarding the dead bodies discovered in Sowell's home.

On November 8, 2009, three more bodies were identified. Crystal Dozier was a 38-year-old African American woman who went missing in May 2007. Dozier, the mother of seven children, lived in the area where her body was discovered. Her family reported her missing to the Cleveland Police Department. This was not the first time she had gone missing, and the family accused the police of failing to investigate. The family took it upon themselves to post fliers and call hospitals.

Amelda "Amy" Hunter was a 47-year-old African American woman. Hunter, a beautician and a mother of three, did not live in the area where her body was found, but she did visit frequently. A previous injury left her unable to use one of her arms. Her family did not report her missing until after police began removing bodies from Sowell's house.

Michelle Mason was a 45-year-old African American woman who was last seen in October 2008. She lived in the area where her body was found. According to records, the police conducted a full investigation when her family reported her missing.

Records of missing persons going back to Sowell's June 2005 release from prison were searched and DNA testing was conducted on the bodies found at Sowell's house. Protesters holding posters of missing loved ones gathered outside his home at the time.

East Cleveland police also reopened several cold cases from the late 1980s. The murders by strangulation used a similar modus operandi and had stopped around 1989, the same time that Sowell was arrested. The FBI at the time was gathering information to see if Sowell may have been linked to unsolved cases in cities where he once lived.

LIST OF VICTIMS
# Name Age Date of death
1 Crystal Dozier 35 c. May 2007
2 Tishana Culver 31 c. June 2008
3 Leshanda Long 25 c. August 2008
4 Michelle Mason 45 c. October 2008
5 Tonia Carmichael 53 c. December 2008
6 Nancy Cobbs 43 c. April 2009
7 Amelda Hunter 47 c. April 2009
8 Telacia Fortson 31 c. June 2009
9 Janice Webb 49 c. June 2009
10 Kim Yvette Smith44 c. July 2009
11 Diane Turner 38 c. September 2009

SENTENCING
Sowell was charged with eleven counts of aggravated murder and over 70 counts of rape, kidnapping, tampering with evidence, and abuse of a corpse. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but later changed his plea to simply "not guilty." On July 22, 2011, he was convicted on all but two counts against him, including the murders of the eleven women whose bodies were found in his house in 2009. On August 10, jurors recommended the death penalty for Sowell. On August 12, Judge Dick Ambrose upheld the jury's recommendation. Since September 14, 2011, Sowell has resided on death row at Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

AFTERMATH
After Sowell's conviction, in December 2011, Sowell's former residence at 12205 Imperial Avenue was demolished on the order of city leaders. It is now an empty lot.

MEDIA
House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler, written by Cleveland-based journalist Robert Sberna, examines Sowell's crimes and profiles the 11 women he murdered and the six women who survived his attacks. The book was released in October 2012 by Kent State University Press. House of Horrors was named 2012 True Crime "Book of the Year" by ForeWord Reviews.

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Old 04-16-2018, 03:41 PM
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Re: Anthony Sowell-Serial Killer of 11 Women

it's a miracle how he could live inside that house with the stench of all those dead women and once the cops were inside they didn't investigate the foul odor. Maybe they also thought Ray's Sausage Factory was the cause of the smell which is a bit weird as the smell of dead decomposing human bodies is quite something unique

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Old 04-24-2018, 03:32 PM
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Re: Anthony Sowell-Serial Killer of 11 Women


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Old 05-08-2018, 07:33 PM
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Re: Anthony Sowell-Serial Killer of 11 Women

Quote:
Originally Posted by kellyhound View Post
it's a miracle how he could live inside that house with the stench of all those dead women and once the cops were inside they didn't investigate the foul odor. Maybe they also thought Ray's Sausage Factory was the cause of the smell which is a bit weird as the smell of dead decomposing human bodies is quite something unique
I bet he went “nose blind” like they always talk about on those kitty litter commercials. But yes, you would have thought that others would have figured out that the smell was decomposition. I was a kid when I learned what that unique smell is like, because it took them so long to clean up around the WTC after 9/11 and on windy fall days the smell was overwhelming.

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