There is often a moment in the television crime dramas that I watch in which a police officer has an emotional discussion with the victim of a violent crime regarding the upcoming trial. Olivia Benson from Law and Order: SVU, for example, will tell a woman who was attacked that she will find closure and a needed sense of justice if she faces her rapist and helps to put him behind bars. Even though the woman may be scared, she is convinced that taking the stand is the right thing to do. Maybe there are instances, though, when sharing your story with a jury is not the best way to find peace.
The serial killer Anthony Sowell, who became known as the Cleveland Strangler, had rape and felony assault charges against him dismissed this week. Sowell has already been sentenced to death for the murder of eleven women, whose bodies were found in and around his home. These new charges would have been based on the crimes committed against two women who survived his attacks. The two victims already testified against Sowell in his previous trial, and they believed they found closure through that process. Prosecutors decided to spare them the pain of another trial, and also stated that they did not want to give any more attention to, or spend any more money on, Anthony Sowell.
It’s a compelling argument—drop the charges in order to spare the victims. Sowell is already serving a punishment that ensures he never spends another day as a free man. And, his conviction is due in part of these two women to come forward once. It does seem like it’s time to let everyone move on.
What do you think?
Although it’s impossible really to put yourself in the position of someone who has been a violent crime if you haven’t been in that situation, can you imagine that justice reached for others would satisfy your need for resolution?
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I do think that in Sowell’s case money was a factor as well as the fact that he was getting much sought after attention. The women and the prosecutors did not want him to gain more fame. It was also revealed that Sowell was in a private cell in jail with a t.v. and basically room service. They all thought it was time for him to be moved to prison so that he can start serving on Death Row. (No where as comfortable as jail.)
There is one remaining rape charge that could be tried but I hope that woman is also able to take closure from his current position.
Note, the prosecution has reserved the right to reinstate the charges in the future. I am guessing that will only happen if the death penalty is overturned.