Bench trial for convicted serial killer Anthony Sowell - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Attorney: Sowell to make unsworn statement to jurors during death penalty phase

A bench trial was held Wednesday morning for serial killer Anthony Sowell.

The 51-year-old was convicted of murdering eleven women and burying their bodies in and around his Imperial Avenue home. 

He is eligible for the death penalty. 

Wednesday's bench trial covered some specifications from the indictment that need to be addressed. This proceeding handled matters that Sowell waived his right to have a jury determine; this waiver occurred earlier in the case.

Sowell's lawyers asked the court for permission to lead Sowell through an unsworn question and answer during mitigation. The judge allowed the motion, to which prosecutors objected. Judge Ambrose told them he has allowed it in the past.

"He really does need the guiding hand of counsel, so to speak, to make sure he hits on all the topics to assist in making this a more efficient and comprehensive presentation to the jury," said Sowell's Attorney John Parker.

"Since the defendant in Ohio has the right to testify on the stand under either the guilt phase or penalty phase, he does not have that right to have counsel guide him through the question and answer period," said Asst. County Prosecutor Lauren Bell.

Sowell was also labeled a Tier 3 Sexual Offender.

No proceedings anticipated until Monday, August 1st. That is when jurors will begin deliberating the death penalty phase.

19 Action News has learned prosecutors are trying to unseal secret court records from earlier in the case when the defense lawyers went to the judge asking for more money to build their case.

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