Tensions Flare at Vigil to Remember Women Murdered

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CLEVELAND - Family members of the eleven women murdered by Anthony Sowell became frustrated Tuesday night after a supposed vigil to remember their loved ones was not what they expected.

"This is not a vigil. This is a more of a political event for them to promote what they want you to elect them during the election," Kyana Hunt, daughter of victim Nancy Cobb, said. "This is not a vigil to remember my mother and I'm hurt. I'm hurt. It hurts.”

The event, organized by a group called The Imperial Avenue Women, invited a laundry-list of current and wanna-be politicians to speak, as the family members of some of the eleven murdered women stood off to the side.

"Too political. You are supposed to be out here remembering these women that were killed and you are making it political out here," said Lavitha Kennedy, who attended with her friend, a daughter of victim Tonia Carmichael.

"It gets them in the spotlight. It gets them an extra vote. It gets the community on their sides. It's not about sides; it's about family; it's about the people who were hurt," Franklin Williams, son of victim Michelle Mason, said.

When the family members of the murder victims started chanting, members with the planned event tried to intervene, and tensions flared.

The politicians quickly left.

A few candles were lit, and voices finally heard, in the memories of: Crystal Dozier, Tishana Culver, Leshanda Long, Michelle Mason, Tonia Carmichael, Nancy Cobbs,  Amelda Hunter, Telacia Fortson, Janice Webb, Kim Yvette Smith and Diane Turner.

Tuesday marked four years since Sowell's first victim was discovered at his Imperial Ave. home.

"My mom, she was a good person. I know every day that she's watching me. She's protecting me. She is my angel," Hunt said of her mother.

"She's fighting for me today and I will not let her down," Donnita Carmichael said of her mother, Tonia Carmichael.

"I love my sister. I miss her. I come here and it just makes me think, wow, this is where she was," Janice Webb's brother said while holding her photo.

"My mother, she could make a cloudy day seem sunny," Michelle Mason's son Franklin Williams said.

Sowell is on death row.

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