Anthony Sowell, an Ohio man accused of killing eleven women and then disposing of their bodies on his property, faced potential jurors for the first time on Monday. Two hundred men and women from whom will likely come the group that chooses Sowell’s fate were greeted with a simple “Hello” from the possible serial killer as jury selection began in a Cuyahoga County courtroom.
Sowell, who I have featured before on this blog, is facing 85 counts of rape, murder, and dismemberment for acts that occurred between 2007 and 2009. He focused on women who were struggling with addiction and, after raping them, would strangle them to death. He was able to continue his horrible attacks for several years because most of the women he targeted where never even reported missing and the smell of decaying bodies that emanated from his house was attributed to a nearby sausage factory.
The large group of jurors was divided into smaller groups of fifteen and then the judge led each one through an orientation, including an extensive conversation about each person’s views on the death penalty. This process lasted well into the dinner hour, with more potential jurors to receive their initial evaluation tomorrow. The jurors who ultimately are selected for this trial should expect to spend six to eight weeks offering their services to the case.
Most of us will never be asked to serve on a jury that receives the level of publicity and the time commitment that the Sowell jurors will face. But, you likely will be called to jury duty at some point, if you haven’t already. For those who have been asked to show up and be vetted for a jury, what was your experience like? Are there any moments that stand out to you in the process?