Archive for August 14th, 2011

Anthony Sowell Gets Death Penalty

A serial killer who kept the decomposing bodies of 11 women in his Ohio home and yard for more than two years was sentenced to the death penalty Friday.

Judge Dick Ambrose accepted a jury’s recommendation and ruled that Anthony Sowell’s troubled childhood and mental health issues did not mitigate the seriousness of his crimes.

“The court gives no weight to the defendant’s expression of remorse,” Ambrose said in handing down the verdict.

Ambrose set an execution date of October 29, 2012. Sowell has the right to appeal, which could delay his execution by years.

Sowell, 51, sat with his eyes closed as two women he raped but did not kill and the relatives of his victims shared their pain during the sentencing hearing.

“You’re going to hell for your actions,” Donnita Carmichael said to the man who killed her mother Tonia.

“May your pacemaker stop and you die tonight,” said Dorothy Pollard, aunt of victim Diane Turner.

“He took my heart,” testified Donald Smith, whose daughter Kim was among the victims.

One of Sowell’s surviving rape victims said “I had to forgive him so I can move on with my life,” adding “he didn’t kill me, he killed what I was.”

The former U.S. marine was found guilty on July 22 of 82 charges including kidnapping, rape, molesting a human corpse, robbery and attempted murder.

The StarPhoenix
From Here

Now he can sit there for years appealing and filing frivolous lawsuits like the rest of them.


Sir John Williams was Jack the Ripper! ?


Tony Williams, author of Uncle Jack: A Victorian Mystery

Tony Williams, author of Uncle Jack: A Victorian Mystery

AN AUTHOR who claims Jack the Ripper was a Welsh surgeon driven to butcher prostitutes in a crazed bid to cure infertility says he has more evidence to back the sensational allegation.

Explorer and writer Tony Williams believes his grandmother’s great-great uncle Sir John Williams was behind the notorious orgy of bloody killings in London’s Whitechapel in 1888.

In his 2006 book Uncle Jack he made a compelling case for the philanthropist – who founded the National Library of Wales by donating his large collection of books – having a dark alter ego as the notorious serial killer.

A poster appealing for the capture of Jack the Ripper

And in an updated version of the book containing new material, Uncle Jack: A Victorian Mystery, Williams says glass slides forming part of the Sir John Williams collection at the National Library in Aberystwyth have now been examined.

Mr Williams said: “The tissue on the slides has been examined by a respected pathologist and it has been confirmed it is human uterus tissue.

“Since I wrote the first book I have been inundated with messages, some from experts like gynaecology Professor Ron Jones from New Zealand who says that study of the human uterus at this time was something new.

“Many medical experts who have examined the Ripper killings also say the murderer must have had anatomical knowledge to do what he did.

“These were not the actions of a drunken sailor, it had to be a doctor or surgeon and the glass slides show Sir John was researching the human uterus.”

Carmarthenshire-born Sir John, who once practised in Craddock Street, Swansea, was a friend of Queen Victoria and obstetrician to her youngest daughter.

He had a surgery in Whitechapel at the time of the Ripper killings, which claimed the lives of at least five women.

And Mr Williams says he knew many of the victims, even performing surgery on them in the years leading up to the murders.

Sir John was said to have been devastated to learn he and his Swansea-born wife Lizzie could not have children and he travelled the world looking at methods used to increase fertility.

During the Whitechapel murder spree, the Ripper killed women and removed their sexual and internal organs with surgical precision.

Intriguingly, at the time when the killings suddenly stopped Sir John told friends he had suffered a nervous breakdown. Only in his 40s, he retired from London life and moved to Aberystwyth where he gave up surgery.

As well as books, Sir John also donated his surgical knife and the glass slides to the National Library. Mr Williams now has a replica of the surgical tool.

The author of Island of Dreams (1994) about his family’s experiences on a Pacific Island and Forgotten People (1998) about North Dakotan Indians, Mr Williams stumbled across the Ripper link when investigating his illustrious ancestor’s life story.

Sir John, former president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, started doing abortion work on women from workhouses in the East End when he established his practice.

Mr Williams uncovered documents showing his ancestor had carried out an abortion in 1885 on Mary Ann Nichols, later to become the Ripper’s first victim.

Mr Williams said: “He desperately wanted children and you can imagine his frustration when prostitutes were becoming pregnant but did not want the children and then came to him for help.

“Maybe he decided to use his surgical skills to look in detail at women’s reproductive organs or maybe it was just some kind of madness, revenge even.”

Mr Williams even discovered a letter sent by Sir John in 1888 in which he apologises for canceling an evening dinner appointment on September 8 because he had to go to a clinic in Whitechapel.

That was the date of the murder of Annie Chapman, the Ripper’s second victim. She suffered surgical incisions to the abdomen, and the removal of her uterus.

Mr Williams believes by the time of the last killing Sir John might have been intimately involved with victim Mary Kelly who grew up in Carmarthenshire and who later lived in Cardiff.

He said: “Police witnesses say they heard someone speaking to Mary in a foreign language shortly before she was killed – that language might have been Welsh.”

Mr Williams’ book has not gone down well with the National Library of Wales where he is referred to as “the father of the library”.

A spokesman said when the first book was published: “We do not think there is justification for a claim like this on someone who has done so much for the National Library.

“We hope that Sir John’s legacy and reputation will be strong enough to survive this.”

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Recomposer of the Decomposed

By J.D. Mullane

The Down Town Club in Philadelphia was crowded with men from the Vidocq Society who had gathered for lunch.

Cops, sleuths and gumshoes, they are the heirs to Sherlock Holmes, and investigate cold case murders, pro bono.

It was 1993 and I was there at the invitation of Vidocq Commissioner Bill Fleisher.

Vidocq was interested in looking into the unsolved case of Carol Ann Dougherty, 9, who had been raped and strangled in the choir loft of St. Mark Church in Bristol in 1962.

I had written a six-part series, based on police files, for the 30th anniversary of the murder in 1992. But before Vidocq got its investigation under way, the Bucks County prosecutor’s office put it before a grand jury.

Fleisher and his group were still interested, and so I got the lunch invitation.

I was shown to a table. On my left was Bill Ressler, the renowned FBI investigator who coined the term “serial killer.” On my right was Frank Bender, whose talent was reconstructing for investigators the faces of dead people, based on their skulls.

A self-taught sculptor, Bender called himself the “recomposer of the decomposed.”

Four years earlier, Bender had become famous when he created a bust of fugitive John E. List for the TV show, “America’s Most Wanted.” List had killed his wife, children and mother in 1971, parked his car at JFK Airport, and vanished.

Bender had aged List perfectly, with receding hairline, wrinkles and tortoise-shell eyeglasses. List was arrested two weeks later in Virginia.

That day at the Down Town Club, Frank Bender was in black. He was wiry, with an intense gaze.

Fleisher introduced us, and mentioned the Carol Dougherty case and the series. Bender wanted to know all about it. He was silent as I spoke. When I finished, he looked at me. Then he said, “You will be haunted the rest of your life.”

Odd. The grand jury had the case. An indictment was expected. Haunted? How could he be so sure? I asked.

“It’s a child,” he said.

Bender fascinated. He told stories of dead people who, he said, seemed to speak to him as their images emerged from clay.

In the late 1970s, he was an art student who studied human anatomy by observing autopsies at a city morgue.

In 1977, when he reconstructed the face of a murder victim and it resulted in the killer’s arrest, the police sent more skulls.

He had a spooky knack for guessing precise skin color and facial expressions of his subjects.

The skulls of the unidentified dead were given titles. “The Man in the Cornfield.” “The Girl on Route 309.” “The Boy in the Bag.”

They haunted his dreams, he said.

At the Down Town Club, he asked, “Tell me what you didn’t put in your story.”

An intriguing question, I thought, and I told him about “12.”

After the series ran, a note signed “12” arrived. The sender requested a meeting with me to reveal Carol Dougherty’s killer. The sender instructed me to acknowledge the note in a classified add in the newspaper. I did.

A few days later, while I was at Mass at St. Mark’s, an envelope was left under the windshield wiper of my car. Inside the envelope was a paper with “12” on it. That’s all.

I said neither I nor the police know what it means.

Without hesitating Bender said it was the killer. Instinct.

“He’s playing with you,” he said.

The Dougherty case remains unsolved. Even today, I chase leads.

I thought of this last week, when Frank Bender’s obit appeared in the newspapers. He died of mesothelioma. He was 70. He will be buried in the National Veterans Cemetery at Washington Crossing.

His final reconstruction, completed last year, was of a child, a 10-year-old boy whose remains were found in a field in North Carolina in 1998.

Bender told the Greensboro News-Record why he took the case, even though he knew he would probably not live to see it solved.

“A child is so innocent. They have a whole life ahead, and it’s taken away,” he said. “It all bothers me, but they bother me the most.”

The case remains unsolved.

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