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Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Cleveland Strangler serial killer, Anthony Sowell, who murdered 11 women and kept their bodies in his house for years dies in prison aged 61 after a terminal illness

 A man who was convicted of killing 11 women and then leaving their bodies around his house in Cleveland has died.

Former Marine Anthony Sowell, 61, had been jailed at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Corrections said Sowell have been receiving end-of-life care at the Franklin Medical Center for a terminal illness which was not COVID related.  

Anthony Sowell, 61, was a serial killer who terrorized a Cleveland neighborhood a decade ago. He died on Monday afternoon from a terminal illness in an Ohio hospital

Anthony Sowell, 61, was a serial killer who terrorized a Cleveland neighborhood a decade ago. He died on Monday afternoon from a terminal illness in an Ohio hospital

Michelle Dozier
Tonia Carmichael
Nancy Ann Cobbs

Michelle Dozier, left, Tonia Carmichael, center, Nancy Ann Cobbs, right, were all killed

Telacia Fortson
Amelda Hunter
Leshanda Long

Telacia Fortson, left, Amelda Hunter, center, Leshanda Long, right, were all murdered

Michelle Mason
Kim Yvette Smith
Diane Turner

Michelle Mason, left, Kim Yvette Smith, center, Diane Turner, right, all lost their lives

Tishana Catherine Culver
Janice Denise Webb

Tishana Catherine Culver, left, Janice Denise Webb, right, were both Sowell's victims 

Sowell's horrific crimes we uncovered as Cleveland police were investigating a rape.


As his home was searched in October 2009, police discovered two bodies in a room next to his bedroom before eventually discovering three more bodies and a skull in the house with five bodies buried in shallow graves in the backyard. 

Soon enough, investigators uncovered the remains of 11 women: 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 was found guilty on 81 counts, including aggravated murder and kidnapping. 


He was found guilty in the murders of 11 women whose bodies were found around his Cleveland home, pictured in white

He was found guilty in the murders of 11 women whose bodies were found around his Cleveland home, pictured in white

Police found decomposing bodies in upstairs bedrooms, the living room, along with shallow graves in the backyard with another grave in the basement

Police found decomposing bodies in upstairs bedrooms, the living room, along with shallow graves in the backyard with another grave in the basement

Sowell's eventual list totaled at least 81 women that he was convicted of committing crimes against between June 2007 and September 2009

Sowell's eventual list totaled at least 81 women that he was convicted of committing crimes against between June 2007 and September 2009

Sowell was also convicted of raping two other women and attempting to rape another. 

Despite being sentenced to death, he continued to appeal against his sentence. His last appeal was as recent as May 2020.  

'I am glad he is dead. God made it happen. I will never ever ever forgive him,' said Donnita Carmichael, daughter of Tonia Carmichael.

'We can go on because he's dead. We don't have to hear about him any more,' said Joann Moore, sister of Janice Webb to Fox 8.

Many of the slain women had been missing for weeks or months, and some had criminal records which meant their disappearances were not always immediately reported to police.

Donnita Carmichael comforts her grandmother Barbara Carmichael as convicted rapist and serial killer Anthony Sowell listens as the guilty verdicts are read at the conclusion of his murder trial in Cleveland, in July 2011. Donnita's mother was Tonia Carmichael was a victim

Donnita Carmichael comforts her grandmother Barbara Carmichael as convicted rapist and serial killer Anthony Sowell listens as the guilty verdicts are read at the conclusion of his murder trial in Cleveland, in July 2011. Donnita's mother was Tonia Carmichael was a victim

A make-shift memorial across the street from the house where 11 bodies were discovered

A make-shift memorial across the street from the house where 11 bodies were discovered

Sowell's first victims were found in October 2009 before the rotting corpses of 11 women were then found on his property

Sowell's first victims were found in October 2009 before the rotting corpses of 11 women were then found on his property

The victims were strangled and bound with apparently random items, including shoe-strings, socks, a belt, a bag strap, a coaxial cable and a cell-phone charger cord. 

Their bodies were disposed of in garbage bags and plastic sheets, then dumped in various parts of the house and yard. There was little left of one victim: a skull in a plastic bucket with non-human bite marks on the edge.

The rotting bodies created an overpowering stench that neighbors blamed on an adjacent sausage factory. The owner spent $20,000 on new plumbing fixtures and sewer lines, to no avail.

Most of the victims were nude from the waist down, strangled with household objects and had traces of cocaine or depressants in their systems. All the victims were black. 

Neighbors thought the stench of rotting corpses was a local sausage factory

Neighbors thought the stench of rotting corpses was a local sausage factory

Jurors sat through weeks of disturbing and emotional testimony before convicting Sowell. They saw photographs of the victims' blackened, skeletal corpses lying on autopsy tables and listened to police describe how their bodies had been left to rot in Sowell's Cleveland home and backyard.

At his sentencing Sowell took to the stand to apologize.

'The only thing I want to say is I'm sorry,' Sowell told the jury. 'I know that might not sound like much, but I truly am sorry from the bottom of my heart.' 

Prosecutors labelled him a 'vile and disgusting' serial killer but they never found out why he killed the women and lived in the house for two years with their remains bagged in corners or buried in the backyard.

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