Nobody’s Women The Crimes and Victims of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Serial Killer by Steve Miller

on August 13, 2013 in Book Reviews, Serial Killers, Victimology by

Anthony Sowell was a former Marine, an alcoholic and a crack addict. His youth had not been an easy one; he was one of seven children in a household with little love and lots of abuse amongst his siblings as well as his cousins (his half-sister and her seven children grew up in the same house). It was a rocky start for any young person.

In 1989, just four years after his honorable discharge from the Marines, Melvette Sockwell met Anthony Sowell who, by her account, seemed like a nice guy. Little did she know that she would become his first victim. Not of death, but of assault, rape and kidnapping. She was one of the lucky ones who lived. Sowell, while not inexperienced by any means with the justice system, served the entire fifteen years of his sentence, and was released in 2005.

By 2006, an overpowering stench permeated his neighborhood. It was attributed to the sausage factory behind his house; however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it was the smell of decaying bodies.

He had murdered a total of eleven women, and an additional six (including Sockwell) managed to escape (some were injured from fighting to escape or jumping out of the third story window where they had been held captive). They were, for all intents and purposes, nobodies. They all had long arrest histories ranging from prostitution to possession of drugs (crack) and theft. The reports their families made of their disappearances weren’t investigated by the police; the flyers hung up by their loved ones were pulled down as quickly as they’d disappeared.

Sowell was arrested in October 2009. On July 22, 2011 he was convicted on eighty-four of the eight-five counts against him. He was sentenced to death on August 10, 2011. Sowell currently sits on death row at the Ohio State Penitentiary. His original execution date was set for October 12, 2012 but that has long since come and gone. Due to the current appeals process for death row inmates in Ohio, he may not be executed for another 30 years.

As you can probably tell by my somewhat longer review, I loved Nobody’s Women. It is beautifully written, and an easy read. To some this may be formulaic, but it is how, in my opinion, all books of this genre should be written: preface, background, beginnings of the murders, pictures, the crescendo, capture, trial, and epilogue.

Side note: I hadn’t known of Anthony Sowell before Brian Combs handed it to me for review, and with good reason – Casey Anthony’s trial was in full swing with the world watching.

You can read more about Steve Miller on his website, www.avalanche50.com. He has too interesting of a background to sum it up in a few sentences. He currently resides outside of Lansing, Michigan.

5 Comments

  • Chef Roberto says:

    To date, I believe this to be Ms. Crippen’s best review. Her description of Miller’s writing formula (her preference for this genre) helps inform the reader that this is not just a recanting of the brutality, gruesomeness and horror that Sowell inflicted. Her review makes me want to learn more about events and possible environmental factors that may have influenced this man’s tragically broken mind.

  • savannah sockwell says:

    Melvette Sockwell is my mother her story has not been told enough. justice had but been served for her.

  • Kay burgess says:

    i guess there is some thing wrong in the brain that causes this. I was beatin every week with a bull whip number 9 wire 2×4’s shovels you name it any thing he could get his hands on was raped over an over by several uncles. i never in my life would think to do some thing like these ppl

  • Tonny says:

    many maniacs problem begins in childhood. It’s terrible when young people are faced with problems immediately after birth.

    this does not justify a criminal, but still meets as often as 10-20 years ago.

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