CLEVELAND, OHIO (BNO NEWS) — A U.S. judge on Friday sentenced to death serial killer Anthony Sowell who was previously convicted of 11 counts of aggravated murder and more than 70 other charges including rape and kidnapping.
On Wednesday, the 12-person jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence to be imposed for each of the slayings, but Cuyahoga County Judge Dick Ambrose still had the option to sentence Sowell to life in prison instead. However, Wednesday’s jury recommendation was required before Ambrose could sentence Sowell to death.
Sowell was arrested in October 2009 as a suspect in the murders of eleven women whose bodies were discovered at his Cleveland house. The victims ranged in age from 25 to 52 and had been raped.
Sowell was convicted late last month on the eleven counts of aggravated murder as well as 70 other charges which include rape and kidnapping. During the mitigation phase of the trial, Sowell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and said he was “truly sorry” for the crimes he committed.
But Ambrose said during Friday’s sentencing that the court gives no weight to Sowell’s expression of remorse. The death sentence was welcomed by the victims’ relatives who told Sowell he would go to hell. The killer remained silent throughout Friday’s sentencing.
His lawyer previously claimed that Sowell and his crimes were the result of childhood abuse and said the lack of nurturing in his home made him unable to stand physical contact or any signs of affection.
Sowell had previously already served time in prison. In 1989, after a seven year career with the Marines and a failed marriage, Sowell began a 15-year sentence for attempted rape. After his release from jail, Sowell said, his health began to fail. In 2007, he suffered a major heart attack and began hearing voices.