CLEVELAND -- A so-called "murderabilia" website is selling dirt taken from the yard of serial killer Anthony Sowell. Each small bag has a price tag of 25 dollars.
SerialKillersInk also advertises a Christmas card signed by Sowell, who was recently convicted and sentenced to death for killing 11 women and burying their remains in and around his house on Imperial Avenue on Cleveland's east side.
Other items include letters Sowell wrote while being held in the Cuyahoga County Jail. One letter is listed as having been sold for $150 and another for $105.
Sowell wrote several cards and letters to employees of the website, which in turn offers them to the public.
Eric Gein, who founded and operates Serial Killers Ink, tells WKYC, "My customers are from all over the world. They include a criminologist and a psychologist."
The letters and card have been on the site for more than a year and a half, while the one gram soil samples include this description:
Own an authentic piece of true crime history!
100% Authentic soil from the yard of Anthony Sowell's Imperial Avenue home on Cleveland's east side. We are offering a little over a gram of soil in a sealed baggie along with a printout of a story from CBS News titled "Anthony Sowell's House of Horrors, Who's Buried There?"
It is against the law for a criminal to profit from his crimes in Ohio, but the sale of a killer's personal items or correspondence by a private company is legal.
"We're easy to pick on," Gein said. "It's a legal business. I'm working for my money and making a living."
While some residents of Imperial Avenue doubted the the soil for sale on the website actually came from Sowell's yard, Gein defended its authenticity.
"An associate of mine went to the house, parked his car, put his blade against the chain link fence, took his hand and started scooping up dirt into plastic sandwich baggies," is how Gein described how the soil was acquired.
"We don't put fakes on our site. We take pride that we are the premiere site," he told WKYC.
WKYC's Dick Russ will have more on this story starting at 6 tonight.