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Community Remembers Imperial Ave. Murder Victims

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by Allison Brown, Fox 8 Reporter

CLEVELAND -- Many Clevelanders rallied and prayed at Anthony Sowell’s property Saturday afternoon, remembering his victims.  It is the grim, third anniversary of when bodies were beginning to be discovered inside of his home.

Names of the eleven women were shouted down East 123rd and Imperial Avenue.

“The theme of the rally and vigil is remembering the Imperial women through unity and solidarity, and by continuing to eradicate violence against women," said Kathy Wray Coleman, who helped organize the event.

The Imperial Women Coalition was formed as a result of the Sowell case, and works in the Cleveland community to send the message that violence against women is not okay.

"This is an attempt to make sure that we never forget, and that this never happens again," said Bill Patmon, State Representative for District 10.

This case is an emotional topic that drew state and local leaders to the scene of the crimes on Saturday, and it also served as a tribute to the victims.

"It is mothers that teach us to love and we have to love our women and honor them and take care of them,” said Patmon.  “Cleveland is a city that needs improvement in its treatment of women, generally speaking, and we intend to keep this up until that happens," he went on.

The home where the crimes were committed has already been torn down but people at Saturday's rally say more needs to be done to raise awareness about what happened at Sowell’s home.

“We are talking about fundraisers, having a memorial somewhere in this vicinity, we are probably going to have a park on the Sowell property," said Kenneth Johnson, Cleveland City Councilman.

Nothing is set in stone just yet, but Johnson says he hopes that soon when you drive through the Cleveland neighborhood, Sowell’s victims will be honored in some way.  When it comes to a final plan as to what happens to the plot of land where the Sowell house used to be, the goal is to have something in place by the beginning of 2013.

"This thing is serious business, until we know women are safe in this community, we will be out here every year," said Wray Coleman.

As for Sowell, attorneys recently filed an appeal, saying his death sentence should be reversed.  Many at Saturday’s rally believe that his fate belongs to a higher power.

"All I can say is God is going to take care of him, whatever the situation is, he's going to be taken care of, what we need to worry about now is the ones who are living now," said Marcellette Love, who attended the rally.