Written By: JASR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Anthony Edward Sowell, otherwise known as the Cleveland Strangler, is a serial killer, rapist, and necrophile.
At a young age, Sowell already began raping as he would also witness various kinds of abuse in his house.
Sowell’s niece shared that her uncle’s dark story started when he was 11 years old. Unlike other dark pasts wherein the present killer experienced abuse as a child, Sowell was among the abusers.
When the woman was 8 years old, her mother died of health problems – prompting her and her six siblings to move in with Sowell, his mother, grandmother, brother, and sister at Page Avenue in East Cleveland.
Sowell’s mother, Claudia “Gertrude” Garrison, would force the woman and her twin sister to strip naked in front of the other children almost every day. They are then tied to a banister and whipped with electrical cords.
While some of the woman’s other siblings underwent similar abuse, Sowell and his siblings were spared.
When the woman turned 10 years old, her body started to mature – making the boys take notice whenever Garrison would make her strip.
Sowell, who is just a year older than her, forced her to come with him to his bedroom, take her clothes off, and have sex with him as he threatened her with violence. The woman complied, and the rape started to occur nearly every day.
She also mentioned that Sowell’s brother and her own brother started to make similar demands.
When each asked by prosecutors if they ever saw Sowell sexually abused by someone in the house, Sowell’s relatives answered “no.”
In 2011, Sowell was convicted of 82 charges that included abusing a corpse and tampering with evidence. The remains of 11 women were found in and around his home in Cleveland’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood. Sowell, an ex-Marine, already had a previous conviction for raping a pregnant woman. He served 15 years in prison and was released in 2005.
In 2009, police discovered the first two bodies after they executed a search warrant for Sowell’s arrest. This is in response to an assault and rape charge. The first of the 11 killings happened in the house in 2007.
During interrogation by police, Sowell talked about meeting women and bringing them home. “Maybe all I did was strangle … that’s what I did,” he said. He wouldn’t give information on what happened to them or how their remains were in his house.
While most of his victims were strangled, some were severely decomposed that it was impossible to determine the cause of death.
The murder victims are Diane Turner, Telacia Fortson, Janice Webb, Nancy Cobbs, Tonia Carmichael, Tishana Culver, Leshanda Long, Amelda Hunter, Michelle Mason, Crystal Dozier, and Kim Smith.
A jury convicted Sowell of raping and killing the 11 women, raping two others, and attempting to rape another.
In 2020, an appeals court rejected Sowell’s latest attempt to overturn his conviction in 2011 and his death sentence. According to the serial killer, he had ineffective counsel and should not have gotten the death penalty.
Sowell remains on death row at Ohio’s Chillicothe Correctional Institute. His execution date has not been set.
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