The perverse world of a sexual sadist who terrorized women on Cleveland’s East Side
To his neighbors on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland, Ohio, Anthony Sowell was a quiet and helpful former Marine who played chess and hosted summer barbeques in his front yard. But there was a dark side to Sowelland a horrific secret inside his house. In mid-2007, Crystal Dozier, 38, made plans to visit Sowell. She was never seen again. Over the next two years, ten more Cleveland women disappeared. Their families filed missing persons reports. Police say their search efforts were hampered by the women’s transient lifestyles. But the families say police considered their loved ones “disposable” and didn’t take their disappearances seriously.
On October 29, 2009, a SWAT team entered Sowell’s house to arrest him on a sexual assault charge. Nearly overcome by the stench of decaying flesh, police encountered a nightmarish scene: a skull was found in the basement and the remains of eleven women were scattered throughout the house and buried in the backyard. Sowell, a sexual sadist, had lured his victims to his personal House of Horrors with promises of drugs and alcohol. He then raped, tortured, and strangled them . . . and lived among their rotting corpses. Five other women were attacked by Sowell but lived to tell their stories.
After a dramatic trial in the summer of 2011, Sowell, 52, was convicted of 11 murders and sentenced to death. He is currently awaiting execution at the Chillicothe, Ohio, Correctional Institution. Cleveland journalist Robert Sberna brings readers into the mind of the killer through interviews with Sowell’s surviving victims and exclusive death row interviews with Sowell himself.
|Publisher:||Kent State University Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
About the Author
Robert Sberna is an investigative journalist who has written for national publications. He covered the courts and police beat for newspapers in the Midwest and has contributed articles to The Washington Examiner, The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Neoconomist, and Ohio Magazine. Sberna lives in Strongsville, Ohio.
Table of Contents
1 "I thought you were my friend …" 1
2 Survivors 6
3 The Smell of Dead Bodies 14
4 Resolution 20
5 The Last Door 24
6 A Bigger Situation 31
7 Positive Hits 35
8 Capture 41
9 An Insatiable Appetite 53
10 Survival: Gladys Wade 63
11 Six-Million-Dollar Man 71
12 "Psycho" 84
13 The Honor Man 94
14 Back on the Block 101
15 Model Prisoner 108
16 Imperial Avenue 114
17 First Blood: Crystal Dozier 123
18 Great White Shark 135
19 Discovery 145
20 Trial 163
21 Verdict and Victory 177
Timeline of Events 196
Letters to the Author 200
Bibliographic Note 207
What People are Saying About This
…Rob Sberna's treatment of the Sowell murders allows the case to speak for itself. In clear, objective prose he lays out the details of these horrendous killings while neatly avoiding sensationalism and any gratuitous wallowing in the luridly gruesome details. — Dr. James Jessen Badal, author of "In the Wake of the Butcher: Cleveland's Torso Murders."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was riveting, I couldn't put it down and couldn't wait to pick it up. The details about Anthony Sowell and his victims were interesting.
House of Horrors tackles a tough subject in a compassionate, objective perspective. The book's strengths are its thorough research and balanced treatment of one of the most horrible crimes in Cleveland's history. It would have been easy to sensationalize the Sowell story, but the author avoids lapsing into "purple prose." Nicely done!