An Ohio serial killer convicted of murdering 11 women in Cleveland died in prison Monday of a terminal illness, officials said.
Anthony Sowell, 61, was admitted Jan. 21 to the end-of-life care unit at a medical treatment prison in Columbus, a corrections department spokeswoman said. He was pronounced dead at 3:27 p.m. Monday after an illness unrelated to Covid-19, said the spokeswoman, JoEllen Smith.
Sowell, who served as a Marine, was sentenced to death in 2011 after a jury convicted him of aggravated murder, rape, kidnapping, corpse abuse and evidence tampering.
He began luring victims to his home in 2007, prosecutors said, and two years later, after a woman told police that she’d been raped at his home, authorities found two bodies and a newly dug grave there.
They later found the remains of other women in garbage bags and plastic sheets dumped or buried around his home and property.
Sowell’s victims included Tonia Carmichael, Nancy Cobbs, Tishana Culver, Crystal Dozier, Telacia Fortson, Amelda Hunter, Leshanda Long, Michelle Mason, Kim Yvette Smith, Diane Turner, and Janice Webb.
Sowell sought to overturn his conviction and death penalty, with a public defender arguing in an appeal that capital punishment is unconstitutional and that Sowell didn’t have enough investigators and expert witnesses to properly defend himself in trial, Cleveland.com reported.
A three-judge panel rejected the appeal last year, according to the site. The city of Cleveland has paid lawsuit settlements totaling more than $1.3 million to the victim’s families over how detectives handled allegations before Sowell’s arrest, the site reported.