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Anthony Sowell sentencing to begin

Anthony Sowell, left, and defense attorney Rufus Sims listen as Common Pleas Court Judge Dick Ambrose, not pictured, reads a guilty verdict in one of multiple aggravated murder charges in the slayings of 11 women in Cleveland on Friday, July 22, 2011 in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Marvin Fong, Pool) Marvin Fong

Anthony Sowell, left, and defense attorney Rufus Sims
AP/Marvin Fong

(CBS/AP) CLEVELAND - The sentencing phase is set to begin in the case of Ohio serial killer Anthony Sowell, who was convicted of murdering 11 women and dumping their remains around his home and backyard in Cleveland.

Pictures: Anthony Sowell's Alleged Victims

The same jury that convicted Sowell, 51, in July reconvenes Monday to hear testimony and then decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison.

The sentencing phase could take more than a week.

The discovery of the bodies was an embarrassment for the city's police force, which was accused by victims' families of failing to properly investigate the disappearances because most of the women were addicted to drugs and lived in an impoverished neighborhood. Several victims' families filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city last year.

The women began disappearing in 2007, and prosecutors say Sowell lured them to his home with the promise of alcohol or drugs. Police discovered the first two bodies and a freshly dug grave in late 2009 after officers went to investigate a woman's report that she had been raped there.

Many of the women found in Sowell's home had been missing for weeks or months, and some had criminal records. They were disposed of in garbage bags and plastic sheets, then dumped in various parts of the house and yard. All that remained of one victim, Leshanda Long, was her skull, which was found in a bucket in the basement. Most of the victims were nude from the waist down, strangled with household objects and had traces of cocaine or depressants in their systems. All of the victims were black.

He was acquitted of only one count in the 83-count indictment: a charge of aggravated robbery connected to one of the women he was convicted of attacking. Sowell was also convicted of rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and felonious assault in attacks on two other women who survived. He was convicted of attempted murder, attempted rape, kidnapping and felonious assault in an attack on a third woman who also survived.

Complete coverage of the Anthony Sowell case on Crimesider

  • Edecio Martinez

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