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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Cleveland Prosecutors Reject Guilty Plea By Anthony Sowell So They Can Seek Death Penalty (UPDATED June 28th)

"Alleged" Serial Killer Anthony Sowell.
I thought I was going to go to sleep, then I watched the news. After spending nearly four hours researching and writing about a Death Row inmate in California, I was so validated about my criticism of our legal system in my last post when I saw this story: Cleveland prosecutors reject guilty plea by Anthony Sowell so they can seek the Death Penalty. 

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - Shocking turn by victim's families. Read the article and I'll explain what transpired on Tuesday.

UPDATE: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - coverage of trial, as it enters second day.

This story was the result of an exclusive investigation by WEWS-TV Channel 5 (ABC Affiliate) in Cleveland, Ohio. On Friday morning, June 3rd, a secret meeting was held with Anthony Sowell, his defense team and the Cleveland prosecutors.

Before I get to what is so completely wrong with our legal system and our view of what is right and wrong in American society, let me answer a few questions for you.

Who is Anthony Sowell and what did he do?

He's an African-American man who was born in 1959. In 1978 he joined the Marine Corp. and was awarded a handful of minor commendations during his seven years of service. He left the Marine Corp. in 1984.

In 1989, he lured a 3-month pregnant woman to his home, tied her up, gagged her and raped her. He was sentence to prison for 15 years and was released in 2005.

Following his release from prison, a number of African-American women went missing. Their names are not important because their backgrounds all read like they took one of the victims and put her in a photocopier eleven times. All of them had criminal records and a history of drug abuse. And all of their bodies were found either in or around Sowell's Imperial Ave. home in Cleveland's Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.

Yes, he's an "alleged" serial killer. There were bodies found in his living room, a couple more buried in shallow graves in his basement, one in a crawl space under his home, a skull in a bucket and more bodies buried in the "alleged" killer's yard. Eleven in all.

Neighbors complained of an awful smell coming from the home. Poor Ray. Ray, of Ray's Sausage Shop, which is in close proximity to Sowell's home, was getting blamed for the smell. I believe it was hurting his sausage sales.

As always, there is just one victim too many that trips up a serial killer. In 2009, Sowell got angry with another of his "dates" and tried to rape her. When police came to his home to arrest him, they spotted two bodies in the living room.

My first question is: Didn't the latest near victim notice the bodies in the living room?

One thing you can say about Sowell's victims is that they weren't the sharpest tools in the shed. One of the mothers of a victim didn't even report her missing for quite some time. The missing person's lifestyle made disappearance not an event worth getting upset about.

So we have a horrible mess. A serial killer, seedy victims and all these supporters of the victims that have magically come out of the closet. They're probably "church-goin" women, as most black women are in these poor neighborhoods. They want revenge. They want blood.

Sowell already went down the insanity defense route and was determined to be sane. Just because you kill eleven women and leave them all around your house and yard doesn't make you nuts.

His defense team would have an easier job capping the leaking nuclear reactors in Fukushima, Japan than coming up with a way to free Sowell. All they can do is damage control and try to keep a needle out of his arm. And that is exactly the play they made on the morning of June 3rd.

They approached Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason and offered him this deal. Sowell agrees to plead guilty to all the murders and rape charges. There are 85 in all. He would also agree to forgo any chance to appeal the conviction in the future, which would in effect be a life sentence without possibility of appeal or parole. The prosecutors would have to agree to take the death penalty off the table. Mason said no.

The prosecutor's office declined comment, but a spokesperson for the office, Bryan Miday said, "The type of heinous crime deserves prosecution." It deserves prosecution? Translated, "We really, really want to kill this guy." Let the money pit begin excavation.

Sowell wants to roll over, play dead and be merrily shipped off to a small cell for the rest of his days, never to be a threat to society again. Done. But NO... these crimes deserve prosecution. Let me jump in with my legal translator again. "We really, really, really, really want to kill him."

In two other posts, I pointed out that capital punishment is not cheap. It costs millions of dollars to prosecute, convict, rebut appeals and finally kill a condemned person in this country. It's so much cheaper to put them in a cell and let them live to be 100.

In a city that is laying off policemen, firefighters, safety personnel, and service employees in triple-digit numbers, spending a fortune on a case that could already be done seems like an incredible misuse of taxpayer funds. How many policemen on the street will this trial cost the county?

Part of this madness is our innate desire for revenge. And if the crime is horrific, the punishment should be horrific - death. This mindset exists in a society that gets their shorts in a bunch because we waterboarded a couple mass-murdering terrorists. "Don't you dare dunk those poor people in the water to attempt to save lives. But we still want our right to kill people that violated us."

Terrorists are people that we know have killed thousands of people and want to kill thousands more. But we can't dunk them in a tank of water. And our president wants to give them civil rights. But a guy with bodies strewn around his house and yard comes forward and says,"I did it, put me away, I'll never bring this up again," and our legal system says, "NO" is completely befuddling to me. We never had to dip Anthony Sowell's toe in a bathtub and he gave it up. He knows, we knows, everybody knows he did it and he should be punished. Waterboarding to save lives is horrendous, but killing a guy, just because we can and we feel he deserves it is more insane than the person on trial.

It seems hypocritical for a society that prides itself on its Judeo-Christian foundation - of which "Thou shalt not kill" is part of that foundation - to be so hungry to kill those that are our worst offenders.

In combat, we kill because you are going to be killed if you don't fight back. It's an interactive thing. But this killer is done. Why doesn't Bill Mason see that, take the plea and go on to saving the taxpayers a boatload of money? He can't he just wants to try to kill the guy.

The Death Penalty has always been called Capital Punishment. Call it what it really is, State Sanctioned Murder. I don't agree with it. And that is why I don't understand Cleveland prosecutors rejecting guilty plea by Anthony Sowell, just so they can seek the Death Penalty - I mean, kill him.

> > > > > > >  U P D A T E   J u n e  7,  2 0 1 1 < < < < < < <

Reported on the 11 pm news on WKYC-TV (NBC) in Cleveland.

All of the victim's families have decided that they want the Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Bill Mason, to take the guilty plea deal by Anthony Sowell. On Friday June 3, 2011, Anthony Sowell's defense team offered to have Sowell plead guilty to all 85 counts, spend the rest of his natural life behind bars and waive his right to any future appeal. As stated above, the Cuyahoga County prosecutor rejected the offer. 

According to the news report, all of the families want the prosecutor to take the deal. They don't want to see the county incur the huge cost of the trial and they don't want to have to relive the horrors of Sowell's crimes in court. 

A sister of one of the victims said, "We're a bit upset that the prosecutor did not take our opinion into consideration. We don't want to have to go through this trial."

Right now, 100% of the families want the plea deal and are gathering signatures to file a petition with the court to take the plea. 

Now we'll see if justice will be served by honoring the wishes of the victim's families or if Bill Mason is a death penalty zealot and he will fervently try to perform a premeditated state sanctioned murder of Anthony Sowell, wasting tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars. In the meantime, the men that picked up my garbage were laid off.

>>>>>>>>>>  UPDATE JUNE 28, 2011 <<<<<<<<<<

- Video of crime scene
- Trial enters second day

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Cleveland Prosecutors Reject Guilty Plea By Anthony Sowell So They Can Seek Death Penalty (UPDATED June 28th)

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