One-year anniversary of Anthony Sowell's trial leaves little to celebrate

Imperial Avenue residents still tense

CLEVELAND - Neighbors used sharp words are they leaned out of their cars on the now-infamous Cleveland street: Imperial Avenue.

Ironically, instead of discussing their distaste for yet another media story regarding the Sowell murders, most of those sharp words were for the flag men hired by the gas company trying to keep Imperial Avenue drivers from plowing through orange cones blocking southbound traffic on East 123rd Street.

"The hole in the street doesn't seem to stop some of them from driving right over the cones right by me," said one of the hardhat-wearing crew members. "They really don't like us out here."

Dealing with outsiders to this southeast section of Cleveland has been an almost daily occurrence since the dead bodies of 11 women were discovered hidden at 12205 Imperial Ave.: Anthony Sowell's home.

There was a mixed reaction to word that it has been a year since the start of Sowell's trial, which ended with him being sent to death row. His former house has been torn down. He may be gone, but the tension from the horror he brought on to this neighborhood is still palpable.

"It's over and done. I don't have to look at that eye-sore again, you know, with all the gates around it and all. Now it's a clear field," said 40-year Imperial Avenue resident Kenneth Walton.

Thirteen-year Imperial Avenue resident Bernadette Daniels still stays in her house at night.

"I think that was something that was a real serious matter that happened on this street. I don't think it will ever go away," said Daniels.

Jamaica High, 22, walked her little sister to her grandmother's house by way of Imperial Avenue Tuesday. There are new rules in her house.

"In my family, my sisters don't walk down this street as much as they did. If they go to the store, they go to East 116th Street instead, which is much farther away," said High.

For Kenneth Walton, he would like a remembrance of some kind for the victims where the empty lot now sits.

"Put a memorial out for the victims. Put out the names, because this is going to be the site for the next 20 years. Half of Cleveland has been here to see this. It's about the best thing you're going to do," said Walton.

Sowell awaits his appeal to the Ohio Supreme Court at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution, according to the Ohio Department of Corrections. His merit brief is due by his defense attorneys Oct. 1, 2012.

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