CLEVELAND, OHIO (BNO NEWS) — A U.S. jury on Wednesday recommended a death sentence for serial killer Anthony Sowell who was convicted last month of 11 counts of aggravated murder and more than 70 other charges including rape and kidnapping.
Prosecutors were seeking the death penalty for Sowell and, despite the defense allegations, the 12-person jury voted unanimously to recommend a death sentence to be imposed for each of the slayings. Cuyahoga County Judge Dick Ambrose is scheduled to sentence Sowell at 9 a.m. local time on Friday.
In the case of Sowell the judge would not have been able to impose the death penalty with a recommendation from the jury. But with the recommendation now given, Ambrose can decide to sentence Sowell to death or life in prison.
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.
His lawyer has 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 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.