Anthony Sowell, 51, of Ohio went on trial in June 2011 and was convicted in July on 82 counts: aggravated murder, kidnapping, corpse abuse and evidence tampering.
WHAT HE SAID:
Before his sentencing, Sowell offered this apology to the families of his many victims:
“Well, the only thing I want to say is, I’m sorry”
“I know that might not sound like much, but I truly am sorry from the bottom of my heart.”
“I don’t know what happened, it’s not typical of me,” Sowell had said. “I can’t explain it and I know it’s not a lot, but it’s all I can give.”
WHAT I SAY: Here are the Five Languages of Apologythat Gary Chapman and I developed based upon research for our (2006) book by the same title.
1. Expressing regret- Saying “I’m sorry for the hurt I’ve caused”
2. Accepting responsibility- Saying “I was wrong.”
3. Making restitution- Asking, “What can I do to make things right?
4. Genuinely repenting- Stating that you will try not to do it again.
5. Requesting forgiveness- Asking, “Will you please forgive me?”
In his apology, Mr. Sowell used only the first language of apology (expressing regret). Based upon our research, he would have missed the mark for 72% of the public with these statements of regret. I gave him only half a star because he did not name what he did that he is “sorry” about.
When he said, “I don’t know what happened,” he failed to accept responsibility for his actions (Apology language #2). His actions did not just “happen”; he committed the heinous crimes. During my doctoral internship, I worked with patients in a state hospital who had criminal charges and were pleading insanity. Too many of our patients made the same mistake of saying that things “just happened.”
The prosecution wasn’t allowed to cross-examine Sowell, leaving unspoken the question of why he killed the victims and attacked three other women who survived and testified against him.
Anthony Sowell should die by lethal injection for his crimes, Judge Dick Ambrose ruled, accepting the sentencing recommendation of the jury that convicted Sowell of aggravated murder. There was applause in the courtroom after the sentencing recommendations were read.
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