Judge denies new trial for serial killer

Aug. 30, 2011 at 11:56 PM
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CLEVELAND, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- An Ohio judge has rejected a request for a new trial for convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell, whose lawyers claim a juror was biased against him.

The claim Tuesday that juror misconduct led to Sowell's death sentence this month failed to convince Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose, The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer reported.

Ambrose also denied the attorneys' request for more money and time to interview each juror about impartiality in the case.

Sowell was convicted July 22 of killing 11 women whose remains were found in and around his Cleveland home.

Sowell's attorneys, John Parker and Rufus Sims, based their motion for a new trial on comments the jury forewoman made during a news conference after the jury recommended the death penalty. The forewoman said she was offended by Sowell's eye contact and that he winked at her, leading her to believe he didn't take the case seriously or was trying to win her over.

Parker and Sims said her comments suggested she believed Sowell was trying to influence her during the trial and she was therefore prejudiced against him.

The attorneys said the juror had a bias against Sowell before testimony began because she told reporters during a tour of his house she had a sense of what happened inside and had to stop to regain her composure.

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