CLEVELAND, Ohio — A serial killer who kept the decomposing bodies of 11 women in his Ohio home and yard for more than two years was sentenced to the death penalty Friday.
Judge Dick Ambrose accepted the jury's recommendation and ruled that Anthony Sowell's troubled childhood and mental health issues did not mitigate the seriousness of his crimes.
"The court gives no weight to the defendant's expression of remorse," Ambrose said in handing down the verdict.
Sowell, 51, sat with his eyes closed as two women he raped but did not kill and the relatives of his victims shared their pain during the sentencing hearing.
"You're going to hell for your actions," Donnita Carmichael said to the man who killed her mother Tonia.
Sowell remained silent as Ambrose handed down the verdict and when he was asked to sign a document.
The former US marine and previously convicted rapist was found guilty of the gruesome murders last month. The same jury on Wednesday recommended he be executed for his crimes.
The gruesome case that unraveled on October 29, 2009 had officials scrambling to explain why the crimes committed were not discovered sooner.
The women killed by Sowell were exclusively poor, black and hampered by lifestyles that took them on and off the streets. They were not always reported as missing immediately.
Sowell had blamed the smell emanating from his house on a nearby sausage factory.
Police have come under fire for ignoring cries for help that could have saved the lives of six of his victims.
Two women sought help after they were raped by Sowell in December 2008 and April 2009, but police found they were not "credible" witnesses and declined to press charges.
Then, in September 2009, a third woman went to police and told them Sowell lured her to his house, raped and strangled her with a cord, then let her go when she regained consciousness.
It was not until police knocked on the door of the yellow house a month later with an arrest warrant that the bodies were discovered.
The deceased victims are: Tonia Carmichael, Leshanda Long, Amelda Hunter, Crystal Dozier, Kim Smith, Diane Turner, Telacia Fortson, Janice Webb, Nancy Cobbs, Tishana Culver and Michelle Mason.