Notorious Cleveland Serial Killer Anthony Sowell Dies in Prison at Age 61

Anthony Sowell, otherwise known as the "Cleveland Strangler," was convicted of killing 11 women in 2011

Anthony Sowell
Photo: Tony Dejak/AP/Shutterstock

One of Ohio's most infamous serial killers, Anthony Sowell, died from a terminal illness on Monday, PEOPLE can confirm. He was 61.

Sowell, otherwise known as the "Cleveland Strangler," was on death row at Ohio's Chillicothe Correctional Institute after being convicted for the murder of 11 women in 2011.

JoEllen Smith, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, tells PEOPLE he was transferred to the end-of-life care unit at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus on Jan. 21. There, he died on Monday at 3:27 p.m. local time.

His death was not COVID-related, Smith said.

Sowell was indicted in 2009 after Cleveland police discovered decomposing bodies at his Mount Pleasant home while investigating a sexual assault complaint against him. The remains were found both inside his house and buried on his property.

Anthony Sowell
Anthony Sowell.

Investigators later identified the 11 victims found at Sowell's residence as Tonia Carmichael, Nancy Cobbs, Tishana Culver, Crystal Dozier, Telacia Fortson, Amelda Hunter, Leshanda Long, Michelle Mason, Kim Yvette Smith, Diane Turner and Janice Webb.

"I am glad he is dead. God made it happen. I will never ever ever forgive him," Donnita Carmichael, daughter of Tonia, told Fox 8 of Sowell's death.

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Sowell was convicted on 81 counts, which included murder charges for all 11 women and numerous other offenses like corpse abuse, tampering with evidence, kidnapping and rape.

The serial killer appealed his death sentence in 2016, but the Ohio Supreme Court upheld his conviction, per According to the outlet, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his case in 2017 and a state appellate court also rejected his appeal last year.

Prior to his 2009 arrest, Sowell had spent 15 years in state prison for attacking and raping a 21-year-old woman in his home, The New York Times reported. He was released in 2005 in that case and went on to kill the 11 women between 2007 and 2009.

According to, the city paid over $1.3 million in lawsuit settlements to the victims' families over how authorities handled allegations against Sowell prior to his 2009 arrest.

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