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Originally published Monday, August 8, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Social worker testifies in Ohio case of 11 deaths

A social worker appealing to save the life of an Ohio man who killed 11 women says he grew up in a "horrible" home and has a family history that includes drug abuse, mental illness, epilepsy and sexual abuse.

Associated Press

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CLEVELAND, Ohio —

A social worker appealing to save the life of an Ohio man who killed 11 women says he grew up in a "horrible" home and has a family history that includes drug abuse, mental illness, epilepsy and sexual abuse.

Lori James-Townes testified Monday in Cleveland at the sentencing phase of the trial of 51-year-old Anthony Sowell (SOH'-wehl). The jury must decide whether to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without possibility of parole.

James-Townes testified for more than three hours about her interview with Sowell and her review of thousands of family records.

Under cross-examination, she said there was no documented evidence that Sowell was abused, sexually or otherwise, as a youngster.

Police have said Sowell lured victims to his home with the promise of alcohol or drugs.

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