Blog: 'Monsters' and predators do live among us

5:17 AM, May 10, 2013   |    comments
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With the likes of Anthony Sowell and now Ariel Castro, we learn after the fact that "monsters" do live among us.

Whether it's the normal-seeming man or the quiet but odd recluse, Clevelanders have been stunned the last few days and the last few years with the "monsters" that lived next door or down the street.

Arrested in October 2009, it was just two summers ago that a jury convicted Anthony Sowell of the kidnapping, rape and murder of 11 women in his Imperial Avenue home.

The grim and gruesome details emerged that he had buried or concealed their strangled bodies inside and outside the home in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.

Some of the women had been reported missing by their families. Some families never gave up hope their loved ones would be found alive some day.

Sadly, that didn't happen.

On Aug. 12, 2011, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose upheld the jury's recommendation that he be put to death.

Sowell now sits on death row but has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to change his sentence from death to life in prison on the basis that he did not receive a fair trial because of the extensive media coverage of the murders. No ruling has been made.

Yes, there was a ton of media coverage and I spent that summer at the trial covering it. Was it a "media circus"? Were we like the Hollywood papparazzi that lays seige to celebrities? No. But there was wall-to-wall coverage.

Now we are faced with the almost unbelievable circumstance that three women missing for years and years -- Michelle Knight, Gina DeJesus and Amanda Berry -- are alive and were found after Berry led a daring escape from Ariel Castro's Seymour Avenue home late Monday.

There was even a six-year-old child found with the women, a child that is said to be Berry's child with her captor.

Now, Castro has been charged with four counts of kidnapping and three counts of rape. Information has been given to the grand jury for indictments.

Castro has not been found guilty or convicted but what he confessed to police is that he was a "sex addict" and admitted to kidnapping all three women and keeping them at his home for sex.

It's only been four days since all of this unfolded but it's been a decade since these families have seen their loved ones.

The story has made international news so I won't go into all the details that are fresh in your mind. And many people are criticizing the media for "hounding" these women and laying siege outside their homes.

True, there were hundreds of media from TV, radio and newspapers "camped out" looking for a glimpse of them or monitoring the Seymour Avenue house for developments.

It's been said that Castro only let the women outside the home a few times in 10 years so I am sure they want to be outside now, especially with a week of lovely weather we have been enjoying.

So I say leave them in peace for a while. Leave them alone but keep an eye on developments with Castro.

And I want to end this, as I am wont to do, with a quote from the 1986 movie "Aliens," a quote that came to my mind during the Sowell trial and again Monday when Castro was arrested.

It was an exchange between Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) and a child -- Rebecca 'Newt' Jorden (Carrie Henn). Newt was the only survivor of the colony on the planet dubbed LV-426.

Newt said "My mommy always said there were no monsters -- no real ones -- but there are." Ripley replied "Yes, there are, aren't there?"

Newt then said "Why do they tell little kids that?" to which Ripley answered "Most of the time it's true."

Hug your loved ones a little closer this weekend. 


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