The murder trial gets under way Monday for Anthony Sowell, 51, a convicted sex offender and ex-Marine charged with killing the women and hiding their remains in his home and backyard. The trial, expected to last several weeks, will force Cleveland residents to revisit a dark chapter in the city’s history that most would rather forget. Prosecutors say Sowell, who has pleaded not guilty, lured women from the neighborhood into his home with the promise of alcohol or drugs, then killed them.

In a surprise secret meeting Friday, prospective jurors were introduced to Sowell behind closed doors while reporters covering the case waited on another floor for trial credentials. Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Dick Ambrose had previously said jury selection would begin Monday in his courtroom.

The discovery of the bodies ignited an uproar that has yet to subside, with most of the anger directed at the city’s police department. Some of the victims’ families allege the police never bothered to look for their loved ones because they were addicted to drugs and lived in a dangerous part of town, near Sowell’s home. All of the victims were black. Most were strangled with household objects and had traces of drugs in their systems.

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