Families of eight of the 11 women whose remains were found in and around Anthony Sowell's Cleveland home in 2009 are asking Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason to spare them the agony of a lengthy trial by ending his pursuit of the death penalty for Sowell and accepting a guilty plea for a lifetime behind bars.
Jim Allen, the father of victim Leshanda Long, hand-delivered to Mason's office Thursday afternoon a petition signed by 18 members of the eight families. In the petition the families assert that they do not believe a long and expensive trial, followed by decades of appeals, would bring them any degree of closure or comfort.
"We do not want to be witnesses to a media spectacle where our loved ones' lives and the details of the horrendous criminal acts inflicted upon them are spotlighted," the petition reads. "The death penalty for Anthony Sowell is not necessary, or even desirable, in comparison to the grief we families will continue to suffer under the realities and uncertainties of the criminal justice system."