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Man indicted in rotting corpses case

A registered sex offender attacked 14 women and killed 11 of them, leaving their remains in and around his home, a prosecutor says in announcing an indictment against the suspected serial killer.
Image: Cleveland murders
An investigator measures the front porch at the home of Anthony Sowell on Nov. 18 in Cleveland. Tony Dejak / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

A registered sex offender attacked 14 women and killed 11 of them, leaving their remains in and around his home, a prosecutor said Tuesday in announcing a grand jury indictment against the suspected serial killer.

Anthony Sowell, 50, is indicted on murder charges in the deaths of 11 women, plus dozens of other counts, including kidnapping, abuse of a corpse, attempted murder, assault and rape.

"The Cuyahoga County grand jury has returned an indictment against this monster for brutalizing three women, two of whom were raped, and murdering 11 more," said Prosecutor Bill Mason, speaking at courthouse news conference. He said he expects to seek the death penalty.

Mason said Sowell had lured vulnerable women to his home and that, "once inside, he tormented them, threatened them and assaulted them. He murdered 11 of them," he said.

Authorities have said the victims were homeless or living alone and had drug or alcohol addictions.

Mason said the charges include allegations that Sowell attacked three women who survived: a 40-year-old woman who says she was assaulted on Dec. 8, 2008; a 36-year-old who says she was attacked Sept. 22 and whose complaint prompted the search of Sowell's home; and a 51-year-old woman who said she was assaulted Oct. 20.

More unsolved slayings
Mason called the alleged attacks "eerily similar" and said investigators were still trying to determine whether Sowell is connected to unsolved slayings in nearby East Cleveland and elsewhere, including some cities where he was stationed when he served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1978 to 1985.

FILE - In this Nov. 13, 2009 file photo, Anthony Sowell is arraigned on rape, kidnapping, attempted murder and felonious assault charges in Cleveland. The kidnapping and rape case against Sowell, a registered sex offender who was living with 10 dead bodies and a skull was put on hold Thursday, Nov. 19, 2009 while a grand jury pursues the homicide investigation. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)Mark Duncan / AP

Mason said the 11 homicide victims, in general, were strangled with items like cords or rope, by hands or by an unknown method.

He would not discuss what evidence might connect Sowell to the 11 homicides beyond the discovery of the bodies.

Sowell previously had been charged with five of the murders.

His home was searched after the 36-year-old woman said he had attacked her there. He has already pleaded not guilty to charges with rape, kidnapping, felonious assault and attempted murder in that case.

Sowell, who served 15 years in prison for a 1989 attempted rape, was arrested while walking in the neighborhood on Oct. 31, two days after police began searching his home.

Of the 11 alleged victims, all black women, 10 have been identified. The remains of 10 women and a skull were found in his home and buried in the yard.