11-24-2020  9:08 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Automatic Recount Initiated for the Gresham Mayoral Contest

Gresham mayoral race currently falls within margin for automatic recount, House District 52 race does not

Portland’s Black Business Owners Struggle to Find Relief

Targeted funding could address disparities in federal aid.

California, Oregon, Washington Issue Virus Travel Advisories

Governors urge people entering their states or returning from outside the states to self-quarantine 

Democrats Won't Reach 2/3rd Supermajority in Legislature

Oregon’s Democratic lawmakers will fall short of winning enough state legislative seats to prevent Republicans from staging walkouts

NEWS BRIEFS

D’artagnan Bernard Caliman Named Meyer Memorial Trust’s New Director of Justice Oregon for Black Lives

Raised in NE Portland's Historic Albina, Caliman is currently the executive director at Building Changes in Seattle ...

Oregon Safeway and Albertsons Shoppers Register Support for Schools and Hunger

$450,000 in emergency grant funding is supporting 159 local schools ...

Oregon Employment Department Begins Issuing 'Waiting Week' Benefits

246,300 Oregonians to receive a combined total of $176 million in benefits in the initial payment run ...

Officials Suggest a Visit to Oregonhealthcare.gov This Thanksgiving Holiday

As gatherings go virtual, families and friends can help each other access health insurance ...

Meyer Memorial Trust Awards $21 Million for Equitable Work in Oregon

The 150 grants will support organizations that work with and grow communities that have long experienced disparities. ...

Hood River man arrested in crash that killed woman, child

HOOD RIVER, Ore. (AP) — A Hood River man has been arrested in a rollover crash that killed two passengers early Tuesday in the Columbia River Gorge, police said. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports Noel Hernandez was driving east on Interstate 84 between Hood River and Mosier when his vehicle...

Oregon DOJ lawyer reprimanded for 'inappropriate' treatment

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A high-ranking lawyer at the Oregon Department of Justice has been reprimanded and will work with an executive coach after an outside investigation found he violated state policy in an interaction with another lawyer.The investigator found sufficient evidence to support...

Missouri, Bazelak start fast to beat South Carolina 17-10

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz was proud his team wouldn't let the obstacles they've faced this season keep them from success. And he happily congratulated them, COVID-19 worries and all, after the Tigers' 17-10 victory over South Carolina on Saturday night. “Can...

Missouri's Drinkwitz seeking more success vs South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz has some good memories of playing at South Carolina. He hopes to make a few more this week. It was a year ago that Drinkwitz, then the coach at Appalachian State, brought the highly overmatched Mountaineers into Williams-Brice Stadium in...

OPINION

Thanksgiving 2020: Grateful for New Hope and New Direction in Our Nation

This hasn’t been a normal year, and it isn’t going to be a normal Thanksgiving. ...

No Time to Rest

After four years under a Trump administration, we see there is a lot of work to be done. ...

Could America Learn a COVID-19 Lesson from Rwanda?

As of October 28, in a country of just over twelve million people, they have experienced only 35 deaths from the coronavirus ...

Trump’s Game

Trump’s strategy is clear: maintain control of the Republican Party as the Trump Party, install “acting” officials who will not cooperate with the Biden transition team ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Amid racial reckoning, Grammys honor the Black experience

NEW YORK (AP) — With police brutality continuing to devastate Black families and the coronavirus ravishing Black America disproportionately, the world was driven to the significance of this year’s Juneteenth more than ever before.And Beyoncé knew she wanted to release a song on...

Judge: California can't ban offensive license plates

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California can't enforce a ban vanity license plates it considers “offensive to good taste and decency” because that violates freedom of speech, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar ruled in a case filed in March against Department of...

Michigan professor placed on leave after racist remarks

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A science professor at a Michigan university has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated after denying the severity of the coronavirus and using racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic slurs on Twitter.David Eisler, president of Ferris State...

ENTERTAINMENT

BTS, Megan Thee Stallion, Dua Lipa react to Grammy noms

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Reactions from some of the nominees for the 63rd Grammy Awards: “What??? Who me? Oh my God.” — Megan Thee Stallion, during a livestream after the Recording Academy president and CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told the Houston-based rapper about her...

The Weeknd criticizes Grammys over nominations snub

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Weeknd angrily slammed the Grammy Awards, calling them “corrupt” after the pop star walked away with zero nominations despite having multiple hits this year.The three-time Grammy winner criticized the Recording Academy on Tuesday after he was severely...

Review: 'Ma Rainey' is Boseman's final, perhaps finest gift

Chadwick Boseman surges onto the screen as fast-talking trumpeter Levee in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” like a man on an electrified tightrope -- balancing precariously between hope and cynicism, humor and sadness, joy and pain, and love and hate.Unlike with some of...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Amid racial reckoning, Grammys honor the Black experience

NEW YORK (AP) — With police brutality continuing to devastate Black families and the coronavirus ravishing...

Punishing hurricanes to spur more Central American migration

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) — At a shelter in this northern Honduran city, Lilian Gabriela Santos...

Keep the mask: A vaccine won't end the US crisis right away

NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t even think of putting the mask away anytime soon. Despite the expected arrival...

Paris police under fire for forcing migrants from tent camp

PARIS (AP) — France’s interior minister ordered an internal police investigation Tuesday after...

Vatican butler convicted in Benedict XVI leaks case dies

ROME (AP) — Paolo Gabriele, the Vatican butler who was convicted of stealing and leaking Pope Benedict...

Drones to the rescue: Berlin lab seeks quicker virus tests

BERLIN (AP) — A German lab is hoping to cut the time it takes to send coronavirus tests across Berlin by...

ODOT Open House
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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