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Jurors recommend death for Ohio serial killer Anthony Sowell

Anthony Sowell appears for the sentencing phase of his trial Tuesday morning, Aug. 9, 2011, in Cleveland. The jury that convicted Sowell began deliberating Tuesday afternoon on whether to recommend that he be put to death or spend life in prison without chance of parole. Sowell, 51, was convicted of killing 11 women and dumping their remains around his house and yard.
AP Photo
Anthony Sowell appears for the sentencing phase of his trial Tuesday morning, Aug. 9, 2011, in Cleveland.
AP Photo

(CBS/WOIO/AP) CLEVELAND - Jurors have recommended the death penalty for convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell, who hid the remains of 11 women in his Cleveland home and yard.

Pictures: Anthony Sowell's alleged victims

Sowell, 51, showed no emotion as he learned he would likely be sent to death row, reports CBS affiliate WOIO.

Jurors deliberated a total of seven hours before reaching a decision. The final sentence will be up to Judge Dick Ambrose, who can reduce a death penalty sentence to life without chance of parole. According to court administrator Greg Popovich, the judge will set a court hearing for a later date to impose the sentence.

Sowell was convicted July 22 of aggravated murder. During the sentencing phase, defense attorneys tried to humanize Sowell with a series of witnesses who painted him as growing up in a deeply troubled home. A mental health expert hired by the defense told jurors that Sowell suffers from several types of mental illness.

Prosecutors then countered with mental health experts who said Sowell had normal brain function.

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 female victims found in Sowell's home had been missing for weeks or months. Some of them also  had criminal records. Their remains were put in garbage bags and plastic sheets, then dumped in various parts of the house and yard.

Sowell was convicted of 82 counts, including aggravated murder, rape, attempted murder and kidnapping, for the 11 murders and attacks on three women who survived.

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Pictures: Anthony Sowell's alleged victims

Complete coverage of the Anthony Sowell case on Crimesider