10-20-2019  1:34 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Video shows coach disarming, embracing Oregon student

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Authorities have released a video that shows part of a former Oregon football star's successful effort to disarm a student who brought a shotgun to a Portland high school.The video released Friday by the Multnomah County District Attorney's Office shows Keanon Lowe and...

Parents guilty of starving 5-year-old daughter to death

BEND, Ore. (AP) — A jury has convicted a Redmond couple of starving their 5-year-old adopted daughter to death.The Bulletin reports by unanimous jury verdicts Friday after a weekslong trial, Sacora Horn-Garcia and Estevan Garcia were found guilty of murder by abuse and criminal...

Vaughn scores twice, Vandy upsets No. 22 Missouri 21-14

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derek Mason wants it known he's the best coach for the Vanderbilt Commodores.Riley Neal came off the bench and threw a 21-yard touchdown to Cam Johnson with 8:57 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 22 Missouri 21-14 on Saturday with a stifling defensive...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

New Emmett Till marker dedicated to replace vandalized sign

GLENDORA, Miss. (AP) — A new bulletproof memorial to Emmett Till was dedicated Saturday in Mississippi after previous historical markers were repeatedly vandalized.The brutal slaying of the 14-year-old black teenager helped spur the civil rights movement more than 60 years ago.The...

Parents sue Virginia school district over racist 2017 video

HENRICO, Va. (AP) — The parents of a Virginia student who say their son was assaulted and bullied by his middle school football teammates in an incident captured on video two years ago are suing the school system.The video, which showed football players simulating sex acts on black students...

Team abandons FA Cup qualifier after racial abuse

LONDON (AP) — An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper...

ENTERTAINMENT

Adam Lambert: Happy to see more LGBTQ artists find success

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on "America Idol" in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success."I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like,...

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters arrested Friday...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Capital hill: Astros, Nats put World Series eyes on pitching

Gerrit Cole, Max Scherzer and a slew of aces get the World Series started in Houston, then the scene shifts to...

After delay, New Orleans to demolish cranes at hotel site

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — After two days of delays, New Orleans officials are hoping to use a series of controlled...

Where you die can affect your chance of being an organ donor

WASHINGTON (AP) — If Roland Henry had died in a different part of the country, his organs might have been...

Botswana, calm for decades, faces surprising election fight

GABORONE, Botswana (AP) — Botswana's ruling party faces the tightest election of its history on Wednesday...

Swiss choose new parliament, vote could see Green gains

BERLIN (AP) — Voters in Switzerland are electing a new national parliament, with recent polls suggesting...

Bolivians pick between Evo Morales and change in tight vote

LA PAZ, Bolivia (AP) — South America's longest-serving leader is seeking an unprecedented fourth term in...

McMenamins
Meghan Barr and Thomas J. Sheeran the Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) -- An Ohio sex offender was convicted Friday of killing all 11 women whose remains were found in his home and buried in his backyard, bringing closure to a case that horrified the city of Cleveland.

Anthony Sowell, 51, was convicted of aggravated murder, kidnapping, tampering with evidence and abuse of a human corpse in the 11 deaths. He now faces the death penalty.

"We do deserve this justice," said Denise Hunter, whose sister, Amelda, was found buried in Sowell's back yard in plastic garbage bags. "I'm so glad that finally, on July the 21st, that all of our families can rest assured - and all of our loved ones can rest assured - that peace has come to our families."

Most of the victims' families slipped out a side entrance of the courtroom, preferring to avoid making any comment about the verdict. When Sowell was convicted of murdering Tonia Carmichael, who was strangled with an electrical charger, Carmichael's mother and daughter clung to each other and wept as they rocked back and forth in the front row.

The jury deliberated for just over 15 hours before announcing the verdicts.

Sowell, dressed in a gray polo shirt and dark slacks, closed his lips tightly, looked straight ahead and barely moved as the first aggravated murder verdict was read. Deputies immediately cuffed his hands in front of him. After standing through the verdicts covering one victim, Sowell sat down, his chest heaving as he pushed himself back in the chair.

Most jurors avoided looking at Sowell, and instead watched the judge read the verdicts. Two jurors wiped away tears and a few swiveled in their chairs to look at sobbing relatives of victims.

When the jury left the room, Sowell raised his clasped, cuffed hands high in the air.

None of the attorneys commented afterward because a gag order remains in place until after Sowell is sentenced.

The jury sat through weeks of disturbing and emotional testimony as the prosecution made its case against Sowell. They saw photographs of the victims' blackened, skeletal corpses lying on autopsy tables and listened to police describe how their bodies had been left to rot in Sowell's home and backyard.

"Some of it was very gross and, you know, devastating to hear," Hunter said. "But I already accepted peace when we found out about the murders. Some of it I didn't want to know, but peace was already settled in my heart."

The women began disappearing in 2007, and prosecutors say Sowell lured them to his home with the promise of alcohol or drugs. Police discovered the first two bodies and a freshly dug grave in late 2009 after officers went to investigate a woman's report that she had been raped there.

Many of the women found in Sowell's home had been missing for weeks or months, and some had criminal records. They were disposed of in garbage bags and plastic sheets, then dumped in various parts of the house and yard. Most were strangled with household objects and had traces of cocaine or depressants in their systems. One woman's skull was found in a bucket in the basement.

All of the victims were black, as is Sowell. He was acquitted of only one count in the 83-count indictment: a charge of aggravated robbery connected to one of the women he was convicted of attacking.

Sowell was also convicted of rape, attempted murder, kidnapping and felonious assault in attacks on two other women who survived. He was convicted of attempted murder, attempted rape, kidnapping and felonious assault in an attack on a third woman who also survived.

During the trial, several women gave grueling testimony of alleged attacks by Sowell, telling the court how they had managed to escape. One woman, who said she was brutally raped by Sowell, testified that she had seen a headless body in his home.

Prosecutors also showed an eight-hour taped interrogation of Sowell after he was first arrested.

During the interrogation, Sowell let out a cry of anguish and buried his head in his hands as two detectives pressed him to explain how the bodies ended up in his house in a drug-ridden neighborhood on the east side of town.

"It had to be me," Sowell said in the video, rubbing his head with his hands. "I can't describe nobody. I cannot do it. I don't know. But I'm trying to."

Sowell told detectives during the interrogation that he heard a voice that told him not to go into a third-floor bedroom where two bodies were found. He also told them about "blackouts" and "nightmares" in which he would hurt women with his hands. He told detectives that he began losing control of his anger about the time the victims started disappearing.

When one detective described a body that was found in his basement, Sowell became visibly upset again in the video.

"I guess I did that, too," he said. "'Cause nobody else could've did it."

The defense declined to call any witnesses. The strategy left unanswered a central question in the case: how could anyone live in a house with rotting bodies?

In his closing statement, defense attorney John Parker questioned the credibility of several witnesses, noting that some had struggled with drug addiction and mental health issues, and criticized police officers for failing to properly investigate when the victims' families tried to report them missing. He asked jurors whether the prosecution proved who actually killed the women - at one point suggesting that more than one person may have dragged the bodies around the house.

One woman's body, found in the basement under a mound of dirt, was nude and gagged at the mouth with her shirt tied behind her head. Most were bound at the wrists or ankles with shoelaces, cable wire and rope.

When the bodies were found, police concluded that a nearby sausage shop wasn't the source of a lingering stench as many neighbors believed. The family-owned business had spent $20,000 on plumbing fixtures, sewer lines and grease traps to get rid of the odor.

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