COLUMBUS -- The Ohio Supreme Court has set April 4 as the date for oral arguments for a new trial for convicted Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell.

The announcement was made Wednesday, a day after WKYC reported that the memorial for Sowell's victims will see a groundbreaking Memorial Day of 2016, according to organizers.

Attorneys for Sowell contend that there should be a new trial because Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose wrongly closed a portion of the jury selection in the trial.

They also contend that a July 2010 hearing in which lawyers argued over an hours-long video of Sowell's interview with Cleveland police officers was improperly held.

Sowell, 56, sits on Ohio's death row at Chillicothe Correctional Institution.

The first two bodies were found on Oct. 29, 2009.

He was arrested on Oct. 31, 2009 and indicted on 85 counts of murder, kidnapping, rape, and abuse of a corpse after a search inside and outside of his Imperial Avenue home in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Cleveland revealed the remains of 11 women.

On July 22, 2011, Sowell was convicted of 81 counts. He originally pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but later changed his plea to not guilty.

On Aug. 10, 2011, jurors recommended the death penalty.

Two days later, Ambrose upheld the jury's recommendation. He also specified that Sowell's execution date be Oct. 29, 2012, the anniversary of the first bodies being found.

Sowell appealed and the execution did not go forward.

On Dec. 6, 2011, Sowell's three-story home was demolished. Dubbed the "House of Horrors," a wrecking crew took about 90 minutes to level it.

In its place a garden -- the Garden of 11 Angels -- was to be erected and a start was made in October 2014.


Here's a complete timeline of the Sowell trial and his background.

Anthony Sowell was born on Aug. 19, 1959, into a working-class East Cleveland home. His father was a construction worker who moved out while his son was still an infant, leaving the child's mother, who worked for a dry cleaner, to raise him and a younger sister.

He attended Shaw High School and took shop classes, according to Cleveland Metropolitan School District records. He went there for four years but lacked enough credits to graduate.

So he joined the U.S. Marine Corps on Jan, 24, 1978. Nine months later, a local woman gave birth to Sowell's daughter. He spent time in North Carolina, California and Okinawa, Japan with the Marines.

He took some GED classes and worked as an electrician. He married a fellow Marine in 1981. At one point, he went AWOL for two months. His discipline included being knocked down in rank. He was a sergeant in 1985 when he received an honorable discharge on Jan. 18.

He and his wife divorced in 1985. In 1987, Sowell was convicted of domestic violence when he was 28. Two years later, in 1989, police suspected him of aggravated burglary but didn't have enough evidence to charge him.

In 1990, he went to a motel on Euclid Avenue and told a woman he knew from around the neighborhood that her boyfriend wanted him to take her to his place. The woman, who was pregnant at the time, told police he bound, gagged and raped her.

He was charged with kidnapping, attempted rape and rape. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 1990. While inside, he worked as an assembler, cook, electrician, food cart attendant, porter and a yard crewman. He also got his GED.

He also completed the 12-step Alcoholics Anonymous program along with programs for anger management, drug awareness and positive personality change. He applied to a sexual offender treatment program in 1993, but wasn't accepted because he denied he had committed a sex crime.

On June 20, 2005, Sowell was released from prison. He moved in with his father and stepmother at 12205 Imperial Avenue. He registered with the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Office as a sex offender and was required to check in with them once a year.

In September, 2009, Sowell invited a woman he knew to his home for a drink. On Sept. 22, 2009, she reported to police that, after a few drinks, he became angry, hit her, choked her and raped her as she passed out.

On Oct. 29, 2009, police arrived at his Imperial Avenue home with a warrant to arrest him for the alleged rape. He was not there, but they found two bodies lying on the floor in the living room. He was located and arrested two days later.

The bodies of four other women were found throughout the home, buried in a shallow grave in the basement and in crawl spaces in the house, bringing the total of bodies in the home to 6.

After digging in the backyard, investigators found three more bodies and the remains of a fourth. Police also found a human skull in a bucket inside the house, bringing the final body count to 11.

On Oct. 31, 2009, Sowell was arrested walking down Mount Auburn Avenue, about one mile from his home. On Nov. 3, 2009, the Cuyahoga County prosecutors originally charge Sowell with five counts of aggravated murder for the women that had already been identified.

In all, Sowell has been charged with 11 counts of murder and multiple counts of kidnapping, rape and abuse of a corpse.

He was originally scheduled to go to trial in the fall of 2010 but that was delayed until Feb. 14. Defense attorneys then asked for more time and were given a new trial date of June 6.

Although they asked again for a continuance on June 3, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose, a former linebacker for the Cleveland Browns football team, denied their request.

Jury selection was to start June 6 but Ambrose secretly started the selection June 3. Two hundred potential jurors were selected for the jury pool.

A jury was seated and sworn in on June 24. The trial is scheduled to begin on June 27. It could last two months or longer. More than 130 witnesses are expected to be called during the trial.