A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted Anthony Sowell today on multiple counts of aggravated murder and charges related to two other attacks on women, setting the stage for a trial that could lead to his execution.
Prosecutor Bill Mason and other law enforcement officials announced the charges at an afternoon news conference.
Sowell, 50, of Cleveland, faces 85 counts in total, including aggravated murder, attempted murder, gross abuse of a corpse, felonious assault, rape, attempted rape, kidnapping, aggravated robbery and tampering with evidence.
The charges carry the death penalty.
He was arrested Oct. 31, two days after police discovered two decomposing bodies at his house while investigating a rape complaint. After thoroughly searching the Imperial Avenue property, investigators recovered 11 decomposing corpses.
Ten of the victims have been identified: Tonia Carmichael, 52; Nancy Cobbs, 45; Tishana Culver, 31; Crystal Dozier, 38; Telacia Fortson, 31; Amelda Hunter, 47; Michelle Mason, 45; Kim Yvette Smith,44; Janice Webb, 49; and Leshanda Long, 25.
Most of the victims were strangled. The coroner’s office could only determine that the others died of homicidal violence because the bodies had decomposed.
The other charges were in connection with a Dec. 8, 2008 attack on Gladys Wade at Sowell’s house and a Sept. 22 rape of a woman at Sowell’s house.