Anthony Edward Sowell (born August 19, 1959) is an American serial killer, identified in press reports as the "Cleveland Strangler". He was arrested in October 2009 as a suspect in the murders of eleven women whose bodies were discovered at his Cleveland, Ohio, duplex at 12205 Imperial Avenue, located in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood.
Sowell was charged with 85 counts of murder, rape, and kidnapping; he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity but later changed his plea to simply "not guilty". On July 22, 2011, he was convicted on all but two counts against him, including the murders of the eleven women whose bodies were found in his house in 2009. On August 10, jurors recommended the death penalty for Sowell. On August 12, Judge Dick Ambrose upheld the jury's recommendation.
Anthony Edward Sowell was raised in East Cleveland, one of three children born to single mother Claudia "Gertude" Garrison. Six other children belonging to Garrison's sister also lived in the household, having moved in after the death of their chronically ill mother. According to Sowell's niece, Garrison subjected the siblings to physical abuse while her own children watched from adjacent rooms. In one incident, Garrison forced her to strip naked in front of the other children, then whipped her with electrical cords until she bled. Sowell himself began raping his ten-year-old niece on an almost-daily basis for two years, starting at the age of eleven.