Sowell jurors speak out, talk about their decision

4:56 PM, Aug 10, 2011   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- In what many are saying is unprecedented here in Cuyahoga County, all 12 jurors in the Anthony Sowell trial spoke to the media as a group following their verdicts that all recommended that Anthony Sowell be put to death for killing 11 women.

An hour after the verdicts were read, they filed back into the courtroom and sat in the jury box again. They took turns answering questions regarding how they reached death penalty recommendations on each of the 11 victims.

"We were pretty much all on the same page," one female juror said, when asked if it was difficult to start deliberations Tuesday on whether Sowell would receive the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Who are these jurors?

"We don't know each other's last names. We called each other by our first names or (by) our juror number," one male juror said.

When asked how Sowell's 32-minute unsworn statement affected their decision, one juror said, "I totally disregarded his testimony...he had no remorse, no acceptance of guilt and he was malingering. He was faking it."

One of the women who was attacked by Sowell but lived to testify in court against him was Vanessa Gay. She joined the media in the courtroom to talk to the jury and thanked the jury, with tears streaming down her face.

At least two jurors told Gay that they thought her testimony was the most convincing and, in turn, thanked her for having the courage to come to court and testify.

Although the jury has made its recommendation of the death penalty, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose still has the final decision.

Ambrose could still give Sowell life in prison without the possibility of parole when sentencing takes place at 9 a.m. Friday.

As for Sowell, he entered the courtroom in orange prison garb with his hands handcuffed in front of him. He stood motionless and expressionless as Ambrose read the 11 death penalty verdicts.

Following the verdicts, as Cuyahoga County Sheriff's deputies took Sowell out, victims' family members burst into spontaneous applause and cheered loudly.

They then approached Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Rick Bombik, assistant prosecutors Pinkey Carr and Lauren Bell, as well as Cleveland police detectives Melvin Smith and Lem Griffin. They hugged the prosecution team and cried.


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