The trial is set to begin for Anthony Sowell, a man accused of raping, murdering and dismembering 11 women in the Cleveland area over a two year period.  The crimes allegedly occurred between 2007 and 2009, and Sowell has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

Court officials say it could take up to two weeks to pick 12 men and women who will ultimately decide Sowell’s fate.

“The justice and the wheels are starting, and we need that process of healing and justice for the ladies, so you know, it begun today, that’s a great step forward,” said Denise Hunter. Hunter’s sister, Imelda Hunter, and her cousin, Crystal Dozier, are among the victims of Sowell’s alleged crimes.

Eleven families have been waiting nearly a year-and-a-half for this day to come. Sowell is accused of killing 11 women whose bodies were found in and around his home on Imperial Avenue in Cleveland in the fall of 2009. He’s also accused of raping three others, who survived.

“He’s guilty for what he did, everybody know he killed those ladies, he did it, so why waste the money,” said Sowell’s cousin, Leona Davis.

Sowell’s own cousin attended the proceedings to support the families of his alleged victims.

“I was scared to talk to them, you know, because it made me feel bad because of what he had did you know. It makes me look bad and I felt bad for what he did to those women,” Davis said.