Cleveland Will Pay $1 Million to Families of Six Anthony Sowell Victims


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In 2011, Cleveland serial killer Anthony Sowell was convicted of raping and murdering at least 11 women. Now the families of six of his victims have settled with the city of Cleveland, sharing $1 million worth of damages.

According to the firms representing the families, the money is being split evenly between relatives of Nancy Cobbs, Telacia Fortson, Amelda Hunter, Le’Shanda Long, Diane Turner and Janice Webb, following a eight-year-long court battle.

Friedman & Gilbert and Friedman, Domiano & Smith released a statement saying that the victims' deaths could have been prevented had the Cleveland Police Department’s sex crimes unit handled the case properly:

The deaths of all of these women was preventable, had Det. Hussein properly handled the Sowell case in December 2008. As noted by the Eighth District Court of Appeals, Hussein’s reckless and sloppy police work caused Sowell to be released from jail in December 2008, after he was arrested for a brutal attack on Gladys Wade, who barely escaped from Sowell’s upstairs apartment. Ms. Wade, beaten, bloodied, and shaken, was able to flag down police who then arrested Sowell at his Imperial Avenue home.

But Det. Hussein told a City prosecutor that she did not believe Wade’s account over the statement of Sowell, who was a registered sex offender, having only a few years earlier completed a 15-year sentence for a similar rape of a woman. Hussein’s release of Sowell not only led to the murder of these six women, but also led to another brutal attack on Latundra Billups – who barely escaped after jumping from a second-floor window.
The City of Cleveland is reimbursing the families' lawyer fees settlement, but refused to admit any wrongdoing with the settlement. According to, the city has spent has now more than $21 million on lawsuits since 2004.

Sowell, who is currently appealing his death sentence, was arrested in 2009 after 11 bodies were found in his house on Imperial Avenue in Mount Pleasant.

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