The owner of Ray’s Sausage Shop in Cleveland, Ohio, Raymond Cash, was in unwarranted trouble from the City Health Department when some terrible smells were coming from the building that the shop was in. Neighbors complained of a horrible smell in 2009 and health department officials demanded that Ray get a new grease trap which ended up costing him $30,000.
But, it turned out that the grease trap wasn’t the problem at all, and instead the smells were due to a very different reason. Anthony Sowell, who was a neighbor to Ray’s Sausage for years, was thought to be a good friend of the shop owner and even helped out on occasion. Anthony was a former United States Marine and the recipient of several medals and commendations when he was discharged in 1985. While he was respected as an honorably discharged Marine, he quickly earned a reputation as being a bad seed. He was known for being involved in drugs and deviant acts of sex.
In 1989, five years after he was discharged from the Marine Corps, a pregnant woman went to the police stating that Anthony tied her hands and feet with a belt and gagged and choked her. He was later charged with attempted rape and served 15 years in prison.
In 2005, Anthony was released from prison and he moved back to his old neighborhood, near Ray’s Sausage Shop. He tried starting over and he even sold scrap metal to try and make ends meet, but his reputation continued to go downhill. He was an obvious suspect when the police came by to investigate the rotting smell that continued long after Ray got a new grease trap installed.
It all started when Lori Frazier, niece of Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, started a relationship with Anthony. The two hit it off, but that changed when Frazier moved into Anthony’s home and smelled what she thought was decaying flesh. Anthony offered her two answers…the smell was coming from the sausage factory or his ill stepmother.
Fast forward several years to 2009 when Sowell invited a woman home late at night for a drink. After waking up the next day, the woman reported that she felt completely out of sorts but started to remember what happened. When she tried to leave after a few drinks, she was sexually assaulted and choked by Sowell, right after he struck her.
At 50 years old, Anthony was arrested just four years after being released from prison for the sexual assault. In July of the following year, he was convicted on all but two counts against him. While the trial had to be postponed several times due to the intense reviewing of video footage and evidence, the jury had been so horrified by the nature of his crimes that they agreed that he should receive the death penalty.
Since his arrest, he has resided on death row at Chillicothe Correctional Institution. He is currently scheduled to be executed on Wednesday, November 18, 2020, hopefully bringing some justice to the victims’ families.