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Anthony Sowell: Judge Removed for Web Site Postings

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By Kamika Dunlap on April 26, 2010 1:50 PM

In the latest legal twist, a judge has been removed from the case of Ohio serial killing suspect Anthony Sowell for web site postings.

The Ohio Supreme Court has ordered Judge Shirley Strickland Saffold to be removed from the trial to avoid an appearance of bias resulting from web site postings made about Anthony Sowell on a newspaper's web site, CNN reports.

Sowell's defense lawyers claim the judge made web site postings about her case, which attracted more than 80 comments.

As previously discussed, 11 decomposing bodies, all African American women, were found in Anthony Sowell's home. A convicted Ohio rapist, Sowell, faces 85 counts including murder, rape and kidnapping charges following the discovery of the remains at his home.

Police believe 50-year-old Anthony Sowell lured women addicted to drugs or alcohol into his Cleveland home and attacked them.

Judge Saffold has denied that she was the source of the web site postings. Her 23-year-old daughter, Sydney, a onetime law student said she was responsible for all the web site postings, which were made on cleveland.com using the moniker "lawmiss."

But acting Chief Justice Paul E. Pfeifer said in his ruling that the web site postings impede Saffold's ability to resolve legal issues in the case.

Sowell pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to aggravated murder charges, as previously discussed. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Under Ohio law, the Anthony Sowell insanity plea, to be successful, would need to show that at the time of the acts he could not differentiate between right and wrong as a result of ''severe mental disease or defect.''

Saffold is the second judge off the case. The first judge stepped down in December after a newspaper published his e-mails.

 

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