What if police and prosecutors had worked to charge Cleveland serial-killer suspect Anthony Sowell when they had the chance in 2008? Or in 1990? What if city officials kept looking until they found the reason behind a neighborhood stench in 2007? What if East Cleveland detectives investigating three unsolved murders had labeled Sowell a suspect in 1989? The Cleveland Plain Dealer asks those questions, reviewing decisions made on the man accused of the Imperial Avenue killings.
In every case, the decisions they made left Sowell on the street. “I see a system that’s completely broken,” said Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed, who acknowledges his own role in the failed process. “How do we miss this guy? We need to figure out how that happened, or it can happen again.”