Spectator ejected at Anthony Sowell murder trial

CLEVELAND — A man was removed from the courtroom because of his outburst during the trial of accused serial killer Anthony Sowell.

The man, who was not immediately identified, was escorted out of the courtroom by a sheriff’s deputy on the orders of Judge Dick Ambrose for yelling, “Now you know how we feel!”

He was then led out of the Justice Center and will not be allowed back into the courtroom for the duration of the trial. 

The spectator, who is thought to be a relative of two of the Imperial Avenue murder victims, was reacting to the testimony of Anthony Sowell’s sister, Tressa Garrison.

She was being questioned about the minutes immediately following the discovery of the first bodies in Sowell’s house on Imperial Avenue in October, 2009.

Garrison and her family lived on East 130th Street, a few blocks away from her brother’s house.

“It was just a very frantic time.  It was ridiculous,” Garrison said of the public and media attention that came her family’s way.

She testified that her oldest daughter was stopped by police on Imperial Avenue just for going to see if something had happened to her Uncle Tony the night the his house was being searched by police.

“Now you know how we feel!” the spectator blurted out, and was immediately walked out of the courtroom.

Testimony on this morning of the seventh day of the serial murder trial also included a brief statement from Joe Veal, the man who spotted a hooded Sowell walking down Mount Auburn Avenue near East 102nd Street around noon on Saturday, October 31, 2009.

“He looked like the guy they was looking for, so I went to the police station and told them follow me,” Veal testified.

One of the police officers who responded said Sowell initially denied he was the man they were looking for, even when he was shown a picture of himself. “He said he was Anthony Williams,” Cleveland Police Officer Charles Locke testified.

At the police station, Sowell asked for coffee and a cigarette, and while talking with Sgt. Ronald Ross, started sweating profusely and fell to his knees. “He said he didn’t want any help,” Ross told the court. “He said he wanted to die.”

Ross testified that Sowell told him he was “glad it’s over,” and that when “I asked him if everything we found in the house was it, he goes, ‘I think so.’  And I asked him what about outside, and he said, ‘oh, those too.'”

At the time, one body had been found buried in Sowell’s yard, and Ross said he immediately wondered if there were more. In the following days, a total of five decomposing bodies would be unearthed in the yard, in addition to the six that were found inside his house.

Earlier Thursday, Sowell’s nephew Ja’ovvani Garrison, who lived with his mother in the East 130th Street house, testified that he was playing video games with his uncle the night Anthony Sowell’s house was search and the first bodies were being discovered. He said Sowell left briefly with another woman, but returned about 15 minutes later.

Garrison testified that Sowell did not talk about what had happened in the time he was gone. It was later discovered that he saw police activity near his home and stopped short, and asked the woman to drive him back to his sister’s house.


These trials have to be so hard on the families.

All of the families, the killer’s included.

It is not something I can imagine going through. When I try I picture myself hanging out in a hall and taking a shot at the serial killer. It does not matter if my loved one was a victim or the killer.

Not that it would work, but that is how I imagine myself reacting.

In reality I do not know and hope to never find out.

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