Prosectuor Says 'Monster' Anthony Sowell Attacked 14 Women

Anthony Sowell preyed on homeless or addicted women, indictment claims.

ByMark Mooney
December 01, 2009, 4:10 PM

Dec. 1, 2009— -- An indictment by Cleveland authorities charges Anthony Sowell with being a "monster" who lured 14 homeless or addicted women into his house of horrors where he sexually attacked them and strangled 11 of them.

The indictment charges Sowell, a registered sex offender, with 11 murders, plus dozens of other counts, including kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, attempted murder, assault and rape. The bodies of his alleged victims were found buried in and around his three-story home. Included in the grisly discoveries was a head in a bucket in Sowell's basement.

County Prosecutor Bill Mason called Sowell "a monster" while announcing the indictment today.

If convicted, Sowell could face the death penalty.

The prosecutor said Sowell preyed on women who were homeless, living alone and had drug or alcohol addictions.

After luring them inside his home, "tormented them, threatened them and assaulted them. He murdered 11 of them," Mason said. His victims were strangled, either by Sowell's hands or with a rope or cord, the indictment said. One of the 11 murder victims has yet to be identified.

Sowell, 50, had previously been charged with five of the murders. He has pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges.

The new indictment includes assaults on three women who survived Sowell's alleged attacks within the past year. They ranged in age from 36 to 51.

Sowell, who served 15 years in prison for a 1989 attempted rape, was arrested while walking in the neighborhood on Oct. 31, two days after police began searching his home.

Detectives Retracing Anthony Sowell's Steps Looking for More Victims

Mason called the alleged attacks "eerily similar" and said investigators were still trying to determine whether Sowell is connected to unsolved slayings elsewhere.

Detectives said they are retracing Sowell's steps since his release from prison four years ago, following his trail back more than 30 years, from when he served in the Marines from 1978 to 1985, FBI spokesman Anthony Scott told The Associated Press.

Authorities are looking into unsolved crimes around the bases where Sowell was stationed: Parris Island, S.C.; Cherry Point, N.C.; Okinawa, Japan; and Camp Pendleton, Calif.

Police in Coronado, Calif., near Camp Pendleton, told the AP that a woman contacted them after seeing Sowell's mug shot on TV. She said she was sure he had raped her in 1979.

The city of East Cleveland is also taking a second look at three unsolved murders in 1988 and 1989 to determine whether Sowell might be a suspect.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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