Anthony Sowell, known as the Cleveland Strangler, was on death row in an Ohio prison for the murder of multiple women when he died in a hospital prison facility February 8, 2021, according to his prison records.
The serial killer case began in October 2009 when law enforcement began investigating a rape case, according to Cleveland.com. Sowell had been free from prison for several years after serving 15 years for rape. When police responded to his house, they found two decomposing bodies on the third floor of the Mount Pleasant home and a freshly dug grave in the basement. Officials eventually found 10 corpses in the house and a skull in a bucket in the basement, the article said. Neighbors had often complained about a smell in the neighborhood but attributed it to Ray’s Sausages next door.
Tonight on Oxygen, Snapped: Notorious digs into the case in its new episode, Notorious: The Cleveland Strangler. It airs at 9 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, July 24, 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
Prison Officials Said Sowell Died From a Terminal Illness Not Related to COVID-19 After He Was Moved to an End-of-Life Care Unit
Sowell was moved from death row at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution on January 21, 2021, to an end-of-life care unit at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction spokeswoman JoEllen Smith told Cleveland.com. He died at 3:27 p.m. at the hospital, the newspaper reported. The spokeswoman said he was suffering from a terminal illness, but she did not say what that illness was other than clarifying his death was not due to the coronavirus.
Sowell was convicted of charges including aggravated murder, kidnap and abuse of a corpse, his prison record shows. His prison record shows his status as “released” due to death. He was admitted to the prison September 14, 2011.
Here is his prison record:
Sowell was on death row for the kidnap and murder of 11 Black women in Cuyahoga County, Ohio from 2007 to 2009, many of whom lived on the margins of society, according to Cleveland.com.
The City of Cleveland Paid $1.3 Million to Families of the Victims for the Way It Handed Accusations Against Sowell
Families of the women Sowell murdered sued the city of Cleveland because of the way detectives handled complaints in his case, according to Cleveland.com. The newspaper said the case “highlighted deep deficiencies” within the criminal justice system in Cleveland.
“Those women never got justice,” former Councilman Zack Reed told the newspaper. “Those families never got justice. The community never got justice. Ray’s Sausage never got justice. There’s nothing good that came out of that situation.”
The case will be discussed on Season 99, Episode 8 of Snapped: Notorious. Five women Sowell attacked escaped after he tried to lure them into his house, Oxygen writes.
“For over two years, the Cleveland Strangler murdered eleven women and lived with their bodies decomposing inside his house,” the episode description says. “Five women managed to escape from his attacks and share details about the terror they experienced inside his house of horrors.”