Relief in Cleveland: 'We Can Go On Because He's Dead'

Victims' families relieved after serial killer, rapist Anthony Sowell dies in prison hospital
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2021 7:44 AM CST
Victims' Families Celebrate Death of a Serial Killer
In this May 10, 2011 file photo, Anthony Sowell appears in court in Cleveland.   (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

(Newser) – A serial killer and rapist who terrorized Cleveland before the bodies of 11 women were found on his property has died on death row. "Cleveland strangler" Anthony Sowell was moved Jan. 21 from Ohio's Chillicothe Correctional Institute to the end-of-life care unit at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus, where he died Monday afternoon of an undisclosed terminal illness, per Cleveland.com. A spokesperson for Ohio's corrections agency confirmed the 61-year-old did not die of COVID-19, per the New York Times. Sowell, a former Marine, was convicted of raping a woman he'd lured to his home in 1990. He was released from prison in 2005 but arrested again in 2009 as authorities uncovered remains around his property in Cleveland's Mount Pleasant neighborhood. The decomposed remains of 11 Black women were eventually found.

Sowell, who pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, was convicted of 81 counts, including the attempted murder of three women, in 2011, per WJW. The city would later pay more than $1.3 million to settle lawsuits with victims and their families, who argued police didn't properly investigate missing person reports for women with drug problems, per Cleveland.com. There were also claims that the street on which Sowell lived had reeked of decomposing bodies. Sowell's home was later demolished. The site hosted a protest in October, with participants calling for an end to Sowell's steady stream of appeals, per WEWS. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld his conviction in 2016, and a state appellate court denied an appeal last year. "We can go on because he's dead," Joann Moore, sister of victim Janice Webb, tells WJW. "We don't have to hear about him any more." (Read more Anthony Sowell stories.)

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