Day 5: Anthony Sowell trial

Woman: 'He said he was going to kill me'

CLEVELAND - Follow along with NewsChannel5 web producer Jen Steer during the trial of Anthony Sowell, the man accused of killing 11 women and keeping their bodies in and around his home on Cleveland's east side. Check @WEWScourt for more updates.

5:07 p.m.: The day ends without a cross-examination from Anthony Sowell's attorneys. The woman will take the stand again tomorrow morning.

5 p.m.: The prosecution shows state's exhibit number 344, video, which is most likely from Ray's Sausage. The camera angle shows the area between Sowell's house and the sausage factory. A naked figure, which the woman identifies as Sowell, walks back and forth between the buildings and behind the bushes.

The man in the video eventually helps a naked woman up off the ground and walks her towards the back of the house. At one point, it appears someone off-camera throws Sowell clothing or a blanket.

4:53 p.m.: The woman said she told the hospital staff that she was in a car accident and told her husband she was hit by a car while crossing the street because she was afraid Sowell would kill her. She spent eight days in the hospital.

4:42 p.m.: The woman said Sowell told her that she wasn't going to leave until he said so, and she should answer any questions with "Yes, sir."

"He told me to take off my clothes and get on the bed. He told me to lay on my stomach and he proceeded to violently rape me," she said. "He said 'I hate you bitches… look at you, you got a husband at home and you out on the streets.'"

"He got up and he started closing windows," the woman said. "He didn't close the window right there next to me… I started talking to God and I told him 'I find myself in a predicament.'" She said she was totally naked. Michelle Mason's family in the gallery, wipe the tears from their eyes. "I ran to the window and I took the screen out… And he grabbed my hands to try to pull me back in."

She said she woke up two days later in the hospital, with two broken hands, a skull fracture, a broken ribs and an aneurysm.

4:36 p.m.: The woman said she told Sowell she was married and it was time for her to go home. 

"He said he would get some more drugs," said the woman. She said she was leaving around noon and that Sowell walked her down the steps. "It was time to face the music… I got about four houses down the street." She said she relayed she left her ID back at Sowell's place.

"When I climbed up the first four steps, that's when he came behind me and put me in a military chokehold," the woman said. "He told me I wasn't going anywhere… And that if I tried to scream, run or getaway, he was going to kill me," 

4:32 p.m.: The woman said Sowell untied a string to get into the house and then they both walked up to the second floor of the old two-story. At this time, it's about 8 a.m., according to the woman.

"There was a smell in that house," the woman told Carr. "Maybe somebody had a lot of pets and didn't take care of their upkeep… You noticed the stench, but not an overwhelming smell… When the sun got higher in the sky… It was a little overpowering."

4:24 p.m.: "Later on, my friend had left. And I was just sitting there, drinking beer," the woman said. She said she was waiting to go into her house, so she wouldn't wake up the kids, when Anthony Sowell approached her. "He had his little bag of beer and wine. He filled by can up."

She said the two of them got "more dope" and more beer, before walking to his house on Imperial Avenue, near East 123rd Street. Sowell leans forward to speak to his attorney as the woman identifies Sowell's house from a photo in assistant prosecutor Pinkey Carr's hand.

4:17 p.m.: The woman said she was nervous to go home because she had been drinking, so her and her friend continued to drink at a bus stop near East 140th and Kinsman until about 3 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2009.

She said she saw a man get off a bus and go to an ATM. Her friend asked him for a cigarette, then they saw the man go with a woman to a house to buy crack. By now, it's about 5 a.m. While at the gas station, she said the man, now identified as Anthony Sowell, asked where she was going.

4:15 p.m.: The next woman on the stand has asked not to be photographed. She said she moved from Los Angelos to Ohio to live with her aunt when she was an adult. Shortly after the failure of her second marriage, she said she started using drugs in 1994.

She said she was able to get sober in 2002 and remained sober until 2007, but that's when she started hanging around the wrong people. The woman on the stand struggled with drugs and alcohol. Assistant prosecutor Pinkey Carr's voice carries much better through the courtroom when she asks the woman for her gum.

"I'm going to have to play teacher for a minute," Carr said. When Bible study was canceled on Oct. 19, 2009, the woman said she went to get drinks with a friend.

3:55 p.m.: Assistant prosecutor shows Det. Durst a series of photos taken at Sowell's house after the Oct. 29,

2009 raid on Anthony Sowell's house, which resulted in the discovery of the decomposing bodies of Telacia Fortson and Diane Turner. Durst said one of the markers indicates where feces was found and another indicates a cord.

Another one of the photos is of a ripped, dirty pink sweater, which meets the description of the shirt the woman who testified earlier was wearing the night of the alleged attack.

3:37 p.m.: "She came in for an interview for the third week of October," said Cleveland police Det. Richard Durst, who is a 12-year veteran of the force. Durst took a statement from the 37-year-old woman who just left the stand. Durst has been assigned to the sex crimes unit since 2009.

"I went to go talk to a city prosecutor," Durst said. "I'll give you guys a brief explanation of what happens. When I get a case, I can't close a case until I take it to a city prosecutor… And they make a decision on what happens next," Durst said, speaking directly to the jury.

"The prosecutor issued an arrested warrant for Anthony Sowell and that arrest warrant was for rape… Based on the information the victim had given me… I got a search warrant for where Anthony Sowell lived."

3:14 p.m.: There's a lot of talk in the media room about the verdict in the Casey Anthony trial. What does that mean for this trial? Tell us what you think in the comment box at the bottom of the story.

3:03 p.m.: "He told me he was sorry and I told him I was coming back the next day," the woman said, about Sowell's reaction after the alleged attack. The woman said she talked to police at the hospital, and later called the fourth district police department and the sex crimes unit.

2:55 p.m.: As defense attorney John Parker questions the woman, who is accusing Sowell of rape and assault, he specially focuses on her use of crack cocaine and PCP. He also brings up her past history with mental illness, which she speaks frankly about, never denying she was hospitalized for drug-induced schizophrenia.

"I just had treatment again. I'm sober now," the woman said. "My sponsor's been sober 22 years."

2:26 p.m.: "I waited six hours for the right nurse. And I waited," the woman said. "I told the rape nurse that I was raped by 'Tone' Anthony Sowell."

Two of the other women who have described alleged attacks by Anthony Sowell, were near-hysterical, but this woman remains calm. That is, until assistant prosecutor Rick Bombik shows her pictures of her injuries. She begins to cry, though I can't see her face, I can hear her sobs.

While Anthony Sowell's facial expression has not changed at all during this testimony, his attorney Rufus Sims pulls his hand to his face and shifts his weight. His is uncomfortable.

2:17 p.m.: "This is the bedroom where he attacked me," the woman said, pointing to one of the state's photos. "I had mentioned to him about someone telling me… And I had mentioned about someone telling me that he attacked them. And he denied it."

The woman said she was raped and she was choked with a cord until she passed out.

"I remember waking up and it was dark," the woman said. "I was still looking pants and my shoes. He said he was going to kill me and himself because he knew he was going to jail."

"I think he was startled. I think he was shocked that I woke up."

2:08 p.m.: The woman said she has been in Sowell's house five to seven times to do crack cocaine in his third-floor apartment. As assistant prosecutor Rick Bombik asks more questions, the woman begins to describe the floor plan of the attic apartment of 12205 Imperial Ave.

The woman tells Bombik that she spoke with Sowell in the area of East 116th on Sept. 22, 2009. She said he had some beer with him and the two walked down the street towards his house to have a few drinks.

The pair went to the second floor of Sowell's house because her told her the third floor was dirty. She said that floor was abandoned. There was no furniture, except for a plastic lawn chair and a blanket.

2:04 p.m.: The next woman on the stand has asked not to have her image recorded. It's believed that she may be another alleged victim of Anthony Sowell, and for that reason, I've chose not to identify her.

The 37-year-old woman lived on Imperial Avenue, just a few houses down from Sowell. She said she met him through Lori Frazier, Sowell's ex-girlfriend who she called "Lo." This happened in 2007, when Frazier was still living with Sowell.

1:49 p.m.: Minor said in the summer of 2009 the pattern of Telacia Fortson stopping by the house to see the kids stopped. He said he started asking people if they had seen her, even questioning the woman whose remains were found in the same room as Fortson's, Diane Turner.

While Minor has made it clear that he disapproved of Fortson's lifestyle, he becomes emotional while talking about the death of his daughters' mother.

1:42 p.m.: Terrance Minor's voice is raspy, but he becomes much clearer when he moves towards the microphone on the witness stand. Minor is the father of two of Telacia

Fortson's two young daughters.

"She was trying to get it right," Minor said, about Fortson's drug problem. "No matter how much I told her not to come back, she would. The kids playing in the front yard and she knew I'd let her see them."

"I had an attitude. I didn't like seeing what was going on in her life. I still let her come because they are our kids," Minor said. "They loved her."

1:27 p.m.: "It was around my birthday, sometime in April… About two years ago," Dancy said. "She was at the house and I went to work or something. When I cam back, she was gone. That was the last time I saw her."

Dancy said he took his son, Bobby Jr., to the coroner's office for a DNA test after the bodies were found. The results confirmed that Amelda was one of the 11 women found on Imperial Avenue.

1:22 p.m.: Bobby Dancy Sr. is the father of Amelda Hunter's two children, Bobby Jr. and Andrew. Amelda, or Amy as Dancy called her had a history of disappearing, Dancy said. He would just wake up and she would be gone.

1:02 p.m.: Many of the women who were found dead in Anthony Sowell's Imperial Avenue home used to frequent the area. Check out our interactive section to find out more about the crime scene

12:05 p.m.: Court proceedings have stopped for a lunch break and will return today at 1:15 p.m.

11:59 a.m.: During cross-examination, Denise Hunter said she did not go to Sowell's house for a party, but there were a few girls there. Rufus Sims pushed to find out the nature of the visit, but Hunter said she could only assume her sister went there to buy crack.

"I was uncomfortable in that area," Hunter said. Amelda Hunter was not reported missing by her family and they did not post flyers, like so many other families did.

11:50 a.m.: Hunter said she went with her sister to Tony's house in 2007, before describing the layout of Anthony Sowell's apartment. The last time Denise Hunter saw her sister, Amelda, was in April 2009.

"No calls. No picking up on her cellphone. Nothing," Denise Hunter said. By her birthday in June, the family was worried. "When I seen the house, I knew she was there... On her birthday, her son went and we found it was positive match."

11:38 a.m.: "She loved music, she loved art, she loved dancing," Denise Hunter said, of her sister Amelda Hunter. Amelda Hunter's body was found in November 2009 in Anthony Sowell's backyard. The prosecutors said her body had a strap from a bag tied around her neck.

Denise Hunter said her sister was sexually assaulted when she was a junior in high school and became pregnant. She said that's when things started to go downhill.

11:24 a.m.: Martin said he was working on the house next door when the police discovered the bodies on Imperial Avenue. When authorities began to identify the remains, he said he recognized nine of the 11 victims, including Crystal Dozier, Telacia Fortson and Kim Smith.

11:06 a.m.: James Martin, 52, is the father of Diane Turner's child, Denise. The two lived with each other for some time. Martin said in 2002 Turner developed a drug problem after the death of her baby.

Martin did construction work on the house next to Sowell's house in summer 2009.

"It smelled terrible. It's kind of hard to describe," Martin said.

10:52 a.m.: Groves said the last time she saw Turner was in August or September 2009 and started asking people if they had seen her. About a month later, Groves was contacted by the coroner's office and brought Turner's daughter back from Jamaica for a DNA sample.

Groves, who worked at Dailey's, said she saw almost all of the missing women found at Sowell's Imperial Avenue home at the restaurant at some time.

10:43 a.m.: Jasneth Groves, foster mother of Diane Turner's daughter, Denise
With "No, sir" and "Yes, sir," answers, Groves replies to Bombik's questions. Groves in the foster mother of Diane Turner's daughter, Denise. Groves said she had custody of Denise from the time she was three weeks old. The girl is now 10 years old.

Groves said she saw Turner everyday. It took authorities a long time to identify her remains after she was found dead in the third-floor room of Anthony Sowell's house at the end of October 2009.

10:25 a.m.: Inez Fortson gives very short answers, in between sniffles. She said the last time she saw her daughter was on June 3, 2009. Fortson said her daughter was incarcerated for stealing money from the father of her children. Assistant prosecutor Rick Bombik speaks loud and clear, though Fortson hears just fine, it's her eyes that are faulting in her age.

"Because they were finding missing ladies," Fortson said. That's when she took her grandson to the coroner's office to give a DNA sample. Telacia's children around now 4, 6 and 8. She had reported her daughter missing with East Cleveland and the fourth district police.

10:16 a.m.: Assistant prosecutor Pinkey Carr guides the next woman to the stand, aided with a cane. With her sunglasses still on, 71-year-old Inez Fortson inches towards the

microphone. Telacia Fortson, mother of three, was last seen in June 2009. Her son, who was 6 at the time, gave DNA to identify her remains.

9:57 a.m.: During cross-examination, Shobey tells the court that her niece went to outpatient rehab in 2007. But Shobey said it is difficult to do without the support of the right people.

"Her family was very supportive of her," Shobey said. "Sometimes they fall off the wagon."

9:51 a.m.: "He father had called her on or around her birthday, which was on January 20," Shobey. "He was concerned… I understand he had reported her missing to the fourth district police." The defense continues to object to Shobey's testimony, but Judge Ambrose overrules.

9:46 a.m.: "I wanted to take her shopping for her birthday," Kim Smith's aunt, Christine Shobey. She took a receipt from a bag to show the purchases from the last day she spent with her niece. "Kim, as I recall, she was very stressed out and worried about her father's condition."

"I told her I loved her and she said 'Goodbye, auntie," Shobey said.

9:42 a.m.: Sims asked Webb several direct questions, calling into question the credibility of the witness. Webb said she had 30 past felony convictions and went to prison three or four times. He grills her on any aliases she may have used to commit crimes, but Webb doesn't faulter.

9:36 a.m.: Sowell's other attorney, Rufus Sims, has remained fairly quiet throughout the trial, but steps up to the podium in the middle of the room for cross-examination. His short, sometimes choppy sentences still reflect his friendly demeanor. Sims asks Webb about her sister's struggle with drugs. Webb said Janice used drugs for about 20 years.

9:29 a.m.: "I talked to her everyday, but I actually seen her three times a week," Audrey Webb said about her younger sister, Janice. Webb made missing persons flyers of her sister and posted them in the area she frequented.

"Me and my sister and my grandmother went, but it wasn't a match. So Lemaar had to go," Webb said. The family had gone to the Cuyahoga County Coroner's office, following the news reports about Imperial Avenue.

9:16 a.m.: Moore said Webb's boyfriend contacted Lakewood police about her disappearance, but was referred to the Cleveland Police Department Fourth District, which is where she spent a lot of her time.

"If I was not mistaken, it was Aug. 2, 2009," Moore said. That's when the family was finally able to make a missing persons report with police. "I actually moved onto East 123rd, so I was a few houses away from Imperial. I was actually there when everything started going on… So I didn't actually have to see the news to know what's going on."

9:08 a.m.: Giving stern and direct answers, Joanne Moore talks about her younger sister, Janice Webb. Moore said her sister developed a drug problem when she was 19 or 20 years old. But Webb was always trying to keep the family close, even in her drug use, Moore said. Webb was always cracking jokes and dancing with the children at family get togethers.

9:01 a.m.: Webb said after about two weeks of not having contact with is mother, he spoke to his aunts and his great grandmother, but no one had heard from her either. After the discovery of the bodies on Imperial Avenue, he received word his mother was a victim.

"She had never been gone like this before… When I heard about it, I just figured she was there," Webb said.

8:56 a.m.: A young man walks up to the stand and takes the oath from Judge Ambrose before settling into the witness stand. Lemaar Webb, 29, is Janice Webb's only child. Janice Webb's body was found under the stairs in Anthony Sowell's basement, with a belt around her belt and her wrists bound with shoelaces, said Bombik.

8:49 a.m.: "When they had that person (Sowell) over there before, they didn't do anything, so why would they do something now?" Smith told Anthony Sowell's attorney, John Parker, during cross-examination.

Before leaving the courtroom, Smith, smiling, asks Judge Ambrose if he can call him "Bam Bam," lightening the mood in the room.

8:36 a.m.: Smith's voice quivers and he wipes his eyes, while speaking about his daughter, who he calls "my heart." As he walks assistant prosecutor Rick Bombik through the last day he saw his daughter, he shoots a look towards the defendant.

"Every hour seemed like a day," Smith said about the days following his daughter's disappearance on Jan. 17, 2009.

8:28 a.m.: The first witness stand is in a motorized wheelchair. He pauses briefly on his way to the witness in front Anthony Sowell. There's a picture of his daughter, Kim "Candy" Smith, sits in his lap.

"That was my heart. That was daddy's girl," Donald Smith said. "She had gotten off crack and taken up alcohol, and that was her demise."

8:14 a.m.: On Thursday, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Ambrose gave the jury a day off on Friday, bringing us to day 5 of the trial. Ambrose also said that proceedings will now go from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., instead of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Most

testimony is expected from family members of the woman 51-year-old Anthony Sowell is charged with killing.

To learn more about the 11 women whose bodies were found in and around the home of Anthony Sowell, click here

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