One year ago on this day, the Cleveland Strangler Serial Killer, Anthony Sowell was sentenced to death by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose in Ohio. I personally doubt that Anthony Sowell was truly repentant of his crimes as he kept his eyes closed as though he was sleeping. Unlike Troy Davis, why do the abolitionists not wear T-shirts with the words, ‘I AM ANTHONY SOWELL’. I care for murdered victims and their families regardless of their race.
I put up this post in memorial of the 11 victims murdered by Anthony Sowell, I would like to post those quotes by the victims’ families who gave their impact statements from several news sources:
Serial killer Anthony Sowell sentenced to death; journey into the unspeakable ends for jury and families
Published: Friday, August 12, 2011, 4:50 PM Updated: Saturday, August 13, 2011, 1:26 AM
By Leila Atassi, The Plain Dealer The Plain Dealer
Serial killer Anthony Sowell sentenced to death Judge Dick Ambrose sentenced serial killer Anthony Sowell to death for the murder of 11 women found in and around his Imperial Avenue home in Cleveland back in Oct. 2009. Before the sentence was handed down, family members had a chance to address the court.
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Serial killer Anthony Sowell, who earlier this week briefly apologized to the families of the 11 women he killed without admitting his guilt, had even fewer words for them Friday -- when Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose sentenced him to die for his crimes.
Sowell remained silent, was almost catatonically still and kept his eyes closed, as if in sleep, for nearly the entire two-hour long hearing.
But a procession of his victims’ families, taking turns at a lectern, had plenty to say to the man who lured women to his Imperial Avenue home, strangled them and discarded their remains in shallow graves, crawl spaces or left them to decompose in the open air.
“Lethal injection is too nice a way for you to go,” said Donnita Carmichael, daughter of victim Tonia Carmichael. “You do not deserve to be put to sleep the way we do our beloved pets. You should be made to look at (the women’s) faces every day as a reminder of the lives you took and the pain you caused. You thought these women were worthless, that no one knew they were gone, that no one cared about them. And you were wrong.”
Sowell, 51, was convicted July 22 of multiple counts of aggravated murder and a slate of other offenses for the women’s deaths. He also was found guilty of attempting to kill three other women who survived.
All 12 jurors and one alternate returned to court Friday to watch as Ambrose carried out their wishes. Although they remained composed throughout the 10-week long trial, several wept openly as the relatives of Sowell’s victims spoke about anger, loss-- and forgiveness.
“First of all, I must forgive Anthony Sowell for what he did to all these women,” said Jim Allen, father of victim Leshanda Long. “I know love conquers hate, and it always will. But I think this might be a hollow victory. There’s no winner, there’s no loser. Everybody lost something today.”
Others could not find forgiveness as easily.
“I’m not a hateful person,” said Adlean Atterberry, mother of victim Michelle Mason. “I never believed in the death penalty until I met you. I never ever wanted anybody to die like that. But now that I’ve met you, they need to set it on Public Square, put you in there and...”
Atterberry, overcome with emotion, ended her sentence short, apologized and left the lectern.
Dorothy Pollard, aunt of victim Diane Turner, told Sowell he deserves to be killed and allowed to lie “helpless and lifeless like our loved ones did in that disgusting house.”
And before turning away from Sowell, she proclaimed, “And may your pacemaker stop and you die tonight.”
Before Sowell was sentenced, defense attorney, John Parker, asked Ambrose to consider the fact that Sowell was willing to plead guilty to all of the charges before the trial began and waive his right to an appeal in exchange for a life sentence rather than death.
Ambrose rejected that argument along with every other factor the defense team presented last week in an effort to save Sowell’s life. Ambrose said that testimony from the defense’s psychological experts that Sowell suffered from post-traumatic stress stemming from an abusive childhood, obsessive-compulsive disorder, psychosis and cognitive impairment was cancelled out by the state’s witnesses suggesting the contrary.
The judge added that, in deciding whether Sowell should live or die, he placed no weight on Sowell’s apology.
“Even though he said he was sorry, sorry from the bottom of his heart, he failed to take responsibility for his crimes by adding, ‘I don’t know what happened. I can’t explain it.’”
Ambrose also said his decision was effected by Sowell’s courtroom demeanor. Sowell seemed emotionless and disengaged while coroner’s officials showed photos of the decomposed bodies, yet he smiled, laughed and cried when his half-sister Tressa Garrison or former girlfriend, Lori Frazier, took the stand, Ambrose pointed out.
Ambrose said he is not certain that Sowell will ever feel remorse for what he has done.
“If you did feel bad, then I would have some hope for you,” Ambrose told Sowell, who remained seated with his eyes closed. “Not for your physical well-being here on earth, because that’s been decided in court - but for your eternal well-being.”
Sowell is scheduled to die by lethal injection on Oct. 29, 2012 -- the third anniversary of police’s discovery of the first of the women’s remains.
After Sowell was sentenced and families of victims applauded his departure from the courtroom, defense attorney Rufus Sims told reporters the case is far from over.
Sowell’s death sentence entitles him to an automatic appeal. And Sims said in the coming weeks the defense team plans on filing a motion claiming that a comment one juror made to media after the trial implied that their client was prejudiced by her personal feelings against him.
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, flanked by Assistant Prosecutors Rick Bombik, Pinkey Carr and Lauren Bell, said in a news conference after the sentencing that he is unconcerned by the motion and will defend Sowell’s conviction rigorously.
The prosecutors also commented for the first time on a petition that some family members had signed months ago, demanding Sowell be offered a plea deal to avoid a lengthy trial and decades of appeals.
Prosecutors said the story of the women who died on Imperial Avenue was one that needed to be told.
And the death penalty, they said, was designed for killers like Anthony Sowell.
Families to Sowell: 'Hell awaits your arrival'
4:06 PM, Aug 12, 2011
CLEVELAND -- Families of Anthony Sowell's murder victims held little back as they addressed the court which sentenced him to death on Friday. One after another they expressed their anguish, anger, and even forgiveness toward the serial killer.
"Anthony, you are an animal, and hell awaits your arrival," said Donnita Carmichael, whose mother Tonia disappeared on November 10, 2008. Her remains, and those of 10 other women, were found in and around Sowell's house on Imperial Avenue on Cleveland's east side one year later.
As the families talked, Sowell sat passively, eyes tightly closed and head tilted downward, feigning sleep. He kept that posture during the entire two hour sentencing phase of his trial, refusing to acknowledge the family members, his own attorneys, and even the judge.
"I'll never forgive you," Carmichael continued, "the way you sat through these court proceedings without an ounce of remorse. You are going to hell for your actions."
Adlean Atterberry, whose daughter Michelle Mason was strangled by Sowell, looked his way and said, "I'm not a hateful person. I didn't believe in the death penalty until I met you."
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Dick Ambrose had accepted the jury's recommendation of a death sentence, finding that the circumstances of the 11 murders outweighed any mitigating factors. He set an execution date of October 29, 2012.
Speaking from his wheelchair, Don Smith, the father of murder victim Kim Smith said of Sowell, "He took my heart. He took my life. I might as well die, too."
The packed courtroom sat in near reverent silence as groups of family members approached a podium in the courtroom.
Dorothy Pollard, whose niece Diana Turner was killed by Sowell, ended her statement by looking at Sowell and saying forcefully, "May your pacemaker stop and may you die tonight."
Several family members said they had to forgive Sowell so that God would forgive them for whatever they may have done. "I didn't want to go around being the angry victim," said Shawn Morris, one of three women who survived Sowell's attacks.
"I'm not a victim. I'm a survivor and I thank God for that," she went on. "The anger has washed off me. I gave it to God. And now it's time to reap what he has sown, and I forgive him."
"I have to forgive him so I can move on with my life," Gladys Wade Thomas, another survivor, stated. "If I keep the anger inside, I can't budge."
Judge Ambrose concluded the proceedings by offering a few words of his own. He talked about a suggestion by one of the families that Anthony Sowell be forced to look at pictures of his victims every day while he sits in his prison cell.
"I can't do that, but I don't think he would feel bad about what he did," Ambrose said from the bench. He then looked at the condemned serial killer and added, "If you did feel bad then I would have some hope for you."
Ohio serial killer Sowell gets death penalty
Fri, Aug 12 2011
By Kim Palmer
CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A judge on Friday sentenced Ohio serial killer Anthony Sowell to death and set his execution date, accepting the recommendation of the jury that convicted the ex-Marine.
Sowell was convicted last month of murdering 11 women over a two-year-period and dumping their bodies around his Cleveland home.
Earlier this week, the jury recommended he be put to death for the crimes -- a recommendation Judge Dick Ambrose could have set aside.
Instead, Ambrose agreed with the panel -- which asked to be in the courtroom for Friday's sentencing -- and ordered that Sowell die by lethal injection on October 29, 2012.
Police discovered the remains of the 11 victims in the fall of 2009, when they went to Sowell's home to investigate rape and assault charges.
Sowell, handcuffed and shackled, had his eyes closed as the sentence was imposed.
He was unresponsive as the judge asked if he understood his responsibility as a sex offender and his right to automatic appeal.
Before sentencing, defense attorney John Parker asked Ambrose to "consider all the mitigation evidence" and to take into account that Sowell attempted to plead guilty before the trial began.
Family members of the dead, and two surviving victims, spoke in open court before the sentence was delivered.
Some family members, like Jim Allen, the father of victim Leshanda Long, said they forgave Sowell.
"Love conquers hate," Allen said. "It is a hollow victory. There is no winner and no loser today."
But many others spoke of judgment and retribution.
One family member even yelled, "dead man walking" as she left the podium.
"You are going to hell for your actions. You are an animal and hell awaits you," said Donnita Carmichael, mother of Barbara Carmichael, one of Sowell's victim.
Defense attorney Rufus Sims told reporters the defense plans on asking for a new trial based on comments jurors made to the press shortly after delivering their verdict.
Ohio has sent 152 people to death row since re-establishing capital punishment in 1999. The average time from sentencing to execution is 14 years, 6 months.
Sowell's 11 victims were Diane Turner, Telacia Fortson, Janice Webb, Nancy Cobbs, Tishana Culver, Amelda Hunter, Michelle Mason, Crystal Dozier and Kim Smith as well as Long and Carmichael.
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.
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.
Anthony Sowell moved to Youngstown death row
5:37 PM, Sep 14, 2011CLEVELAND -- The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections confirms that convicted killer Anthony Sowell has been moved to the Ohio State Penitentiary in Youngstown.
Sowell, 52, has been placed on death row there.
Last month, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Dick Ambrose sentenced Sowell to die on Oct. 29, 2012, three years to the day that the first of the bodies of his 11 victims was discovered at his Imperial Avenue home.
Sowell was convicted on 82 counts and the jury recommended the death penalty.
Sowell is appealing his sentence. Sowell had been held in the Cuyahoga County Jail since Oct. 31, 2009.