CLEVELAND -- Drawings by Cleveland's most notorious serial killer are being offered for sale online.
Several items bearing Anthony Sowell's signature, picture, and thumb print are listed on a so-called "murderabilia" website which a few years ago sold bags of soil removed from Sowell's yard on Imperial Avenue.
"We are simply the messenger," said Eric Gein of Serial Killers Ink, the website which is selling Sowell's drawings, and which today published a letter from Sowell, in which the killer of 11 women defended his right to speak.
"I give out artwork to you and others all the time," Sowell wrote to Gein, in a four-page letter posted on the website. "I'm not breaking any laws and I will keep sending out letters, artwork, and photos. I'm not being paid for them."
The drawings sell for as much as $225. One of them features a grim reaper figure above 11 tombstones, some of which carry the letters RIP, while others have crosses.
"We have nothing to hide," Gein said in an emailed statement, also defending his right to sell such items as long as Sowell makes no money from them himself.
Ohio law restricts inmates such as Sowell from making a profit on sales.
In a letter posted today on the website Serial Killers Ink, Sowell writes, "Hello people of Cleveland. I know that you may not like me but this person is now your County prosecutor."
Sowell railed against newly elected Tim McGinty in the letter. He also issued this statement about the sale of items by inmates and their ability to issue statements or publish letters.
"A convicted murder should not have access to computers, websites, or e-mail. Penitentiaries should severely restrict and monitor all access to the outside world.
"Any cash the murders receive should be confiscated to pay restitution to the victim's families and the tax payers for the court costs, fines and cost of attorneys. No convicted murder should be permitted to profit from their crimes. All accounts should be confiscated until these debts are paid in full."
Gein said that his website "will continue to offer Tony a public forum where he is free to voice his opinions without spin or damnation if he so desires."