Witness highlights Ohio killer's military training

By THOMAS J. SHEERAN | August 3, 2011 | 10:43 AM EDT

CLEVELAND (AP) — A witness called by attorneys trying to spare the life of a Cleveland serial killer testified that the defendant's Marine Corps background gave him training in how to kill by choking.

Marine veteran Nolan Coleman testified Wednesday at the sentencing phase of the trial of 51-year-old Anthony Sowell (SOH'-wehl). The jury must decide whether to recommend death or life in prison without parole for Sowell, who killed 11 women.

Coleman testified to highlight Sowell's military service for jurors when they decide whether to spare his life. Coleman testified that a boot camp promotion like Sowell's would mean he was a top recruit.

But under cross-examination, Coleman said Marine training would include how to kill or immobilize with the hands, including pressure points and choking. Most of Sowell's victims were strangled.