Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter Gabriel Baird avoided a contempt-of-court jail stay after Cuyahoga County Judge Timothy McGinty disclosed that he was the source who provided the reporter with a psychiatric evaluation of accused serial killer Anthony Sowell, the Plain Dealer reports. McGinty had originally been assigned to handle the Sowell case but recused himself.
Baird reported in a Nov. 6 story that Sowell’s psychiatric evaluation concluded that he was unlikely to assault women after he served 15 years in prison for attempted rape. The evaluation, done after Sowell’s release to determine whether Sowell should be classified a sexual predator, contained information about Sowell’s childhood and his years in prison. The evaluation has nothing to do with the current charges against Sowell. Sowell’s attorneys asked to question McGinty but the judge was attending a funeral. One defense lawyer argued that McGinty’s revealing of the documents impugned the integrity of every judge and will make it more difficult to find an impartial jury for Sowell’s trial. He is accused of killing 11 women whose bodies were found at his house and in his yard last fall.