Trial opens for Cleveland man accused in 11 deaths

By MEGHAN BARR | June 6, 2011 | 10:58 AM EDT

FILE - In this May 10, 2011 file photo, Anthony Sowell appears in court in Cleveland. Jury selection begins Monday, June 6, 2011, in Sowell's murder trial. Sowell, a sex offender and ex-Marine, is charged with killing 11 women and hiding their remains in his home and backyard. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — A convicted sex offender is on trial in Cleveland on charges that he killed 11 women and hid their remains in his home and backyard.

Jury selection formally began Monday with 51-year-old Anthony Sowell (SOH'-wehl) sitting between his two attorneys in the courtroom. He has pleaded not guilty and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Police began pulling the remains of the women from the depths of his rundown white duplex in November 2009.

Angry relatives contend police never bothered to look for their loved ones because they were addicted to drugs and lived in a poor and dangerous part of town.

Prospective jurors were introduced to Sowell behind closed doors Friday during jury orientation.

The trial is expected to last several weeks.