Report: Serial killer had denied childhood abuse

By MEGHAN BARR and THOMAS J. SHEERAN | August 5, 2011 | 12:15 PM EDT

Serial killer Anthony Sowell sheds a tear during testimony by his half sister, Tressa Garrison, at the Justice Center in Cleveland on Aug. 4, 2011. Sowell, who was convicted last month of aggravated murder in the 11 deaths, appeared more animated during her testimony than normal, shaking his head "yes" or "no" in agreement. He made a comment, inaudible in the public gallery, that drew a glance from the judge and prompted a deputy to take up a position behind Sowell. (AP Photo/Scott Shaw, Pool)

CLEVELAND (AP) — A prosecutor is grilling a mental health expert on his diagnosis that a serial killer who hid the bodies of 11 women in his Cleveland home and yard suffers from mental illness.

Assistant Prosecutor Richard Bombik read aloud Friday from a sex offender report taken in 2005, when 51-year-old Anthony Sowell (SOH'-wehl) was being released from prison after serving time for attempted rape. The report says Sowell denied any abuse or neglect during his childhood and said he got along well with his parents.

Dr. George Woods, a mental health expert hired by the defense, has said Sowell suffered from mental illness due to childhood sexual and physical abuse.

Sowell was convicted last month of killing the 11 women. A jury will recommend either the death penalty or life without parole.