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Serial killer's nieces testify at sentencing

Aug. 2, 2011 at 10:44 PM   |   Comments

CLEVELAND, Aug. 2 (UPI) -- Nieces of the Cleveland man convicted last month of murdering 11 women told a sentencing jury Tuesday how they were abused by him and other relatives.

Two nieces of Anthony Sowell, who faces the possibility of being sentenced to death, testified he had abused them when they were young, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

One of the women told the jury she was forced to strip naked and was beaten every day she lived with Sowell.

"I never told about the sexual abuse going on with me," she said.

The woman, now 50 years old, said she hadn't seen Sowell in nearly 30 years. She said over the several years she lived with Sowell and his family, she was abused by him and other relatives from the age of 10 to 12.

Another niece said she and her sister were also abused by their grandmother, who would beat the girls with sticks and extension cords.

"We couldn't tell nobody," she said. "She would find out."

Defense attorneys are expected to call 28 witnesses throughout the mitigation phase of the Sowell trial in an attempt to persuade the jury that he does not deserve the death penalty.

Sowell was convicted July 22 on 82 charges, including numerous counts of aggravated murder, abusing a corpse and tampering with evidence in connection with the deaths of 11 women, whose remains were found in and around his Cleveland home in 2009.

Tuesday was the second day of the mitigation in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, which is expected to last all week.

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