Anthony Sowell Insanity Plea Offered In 11 Deaths

By Kamika Dunlap on December 07, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Clevland mass murder suspect Anthony Sowell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Sowell was indicted on 85 counts and appeared in court via a video hookup from his jail cell.

A registered sex offender, he also is accused of killing 11 women and burying their remains in and around his house in Cleveland.

All 11 remains were of African-American women.

The Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Bill Mason, has said that he would seek the death penalty.

CNN reports, that charges include several counts of aggravated murder with a "mass murder specification," which means multiple people were killed in similar fashion.

Under Ohio law, the Anthony Sowell insanity plea, to be successful, would need to show that at the time of the acts he could not differentiate between right and wrong as a result of ''severe mental disease or defect.''

Sowell, 50, faces rape and kidnapping charges as well and also has been charged with brutalizing three other women and raping two of them, the county prosecutor said.

Many law experts say that in these types heinous crimes, insanity is the defense of last resort for any criminal defense attorney. In addition, ultimately the insanity defense tries to distinguish between the evil person or the sick person.

Investigators arrested Sowell in October after authorities serving a search warrant in a rape case discovered the remains of six women in and around his house. Subsequent searches turned up the remains of five others.

As previously discussed, Sowell operated in a loophole between two Ohio laws passed to control registered sex offenders. As a result, the gap in the law may have allowed him to embark on a gruesome series of murders, keeping bodies stashed all over his property, and not have anyone notice.

On behalf of the 14 victims identified in the indictment the county prosecutor has requested a $14 million bond -- one million on behalf of each victim given the gravity of the crime, the sweeping nature, the effect on the community and the need to protect them and the nature of the offense. 

We won't know how the results of the Anthony Sowell insanity plea for a while.

Sowell's pretrial is scheduled for today.


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