October 29, 2009
In Loving Memory 11-Women of Imperial Avenue (October 29, 2009 – October 29, 2017)
Dear Kathy Wray Coleman and Imperial Avenue Victims’ Families,
Gone but not Forgotten
This year marks the eight-year anniversary since the grisly discovery of the bodies at Anthony Sowell’s home, at 12205 Imperial Avenue. Cleveland and the world watched horrified as the hidden bodies of missing women were removed from this madman’s house of horror. My heart goes out to the families for what I now know was a preventable tragedy.
Enter Cold Case 2006-00241169
“Woman raped and beaten up in an empty house.”- June 20, 2006, Plain Dealer. That “woman” was Vernice Crutcher. She also provided a forensic sketch. *“Police seek rape suspect.” – Plain Dealer June 30, 2006. (*“Looks much like Sowell”)
It is largely unknown that Vernice Crutcher, a pre-Imperial Avenue survivor, literally came back from the grave, to warn law enforcement that a sadistic serial killer was emerging in June 2006. Sadly, (unbeknownst to us) her case was “suspended” just 4-months later, October 20, 2006. This decision had tragic consequences. Eight months later, Crystal Dozier, the first Imperial Avenue victim, disappeared around June 2007. She was discovered 2-1/2 years later, nearly 3-miles away, in a shallow grave in Sowell’s backyard. What’s the fascinating link between Vernice and Crystal? “Crystal Dozier lived within the 6900 block of Kinsman Avenue.”- CPD Imperial Avenue Timeline and Related Events – November 2009. The “empty house” Vernice was lured, forced into, and attacked was also in that block. This means these ladies were neighbors of the Garden Valley area. Serial killer Sowell had a penchant for taking and collecting his victims’ personal effects as trophies. Ms. Crutcher’s gray watch and ring can be seen on display among the Imperial Avenue victims’ jewelry inside a photograph taken by the County Medical Examiner. (See www.cdnewton.com).
Mayor and Safety Director’s New Case
Years of dogged persistence “#Justice4VerniceCrutcher” has finally paid off! City Hall has recently sent me a letter to re-open this case! “On behalf of the Mayor of Cleveland, Frank G. Jackson, I reviewed the information provided and assigned it to the Division of Police as Police Action Complaint #2017-0011 DI. It will address your concerns regarding re-analyzing DNA test results regarding Cold Case file #2006-00241169.”- City of Cleveland – September 6, 2017.
Signed Petition may lead to “After-Discovered Evidence” for Imperial Avenue victims’ families
Justice for Vernice is “equal justice under the law.” County prosecutor Michael O’Malley must indict, and convict Anthony Sowell for this pre-Imperial Avenue attempted murder attack. Crutcher v Sowell! Thus, an online petition has been started at Change.org or www.cdnewton.com. Her resolved case may be legal grounds to re-open civil suits for Imperial Avenue victims’ families.
“In a civil case, evidence that existed at the time of motion or trial but that could not have been discovered with reasonable diligence prior to a court ruling or trial’s completion. Upon later discovery, a losing party may assert after-discovered evidence, a.k.a. newly discovered evidence, as grounds for a court to reconsider a motion or order a new trial!” – Cornell Law School [Vernice’s case reveals facts and evidence of a failed investigation to protect the community, as the 14th Amendment provides, “No USA citizen may be deprived of life, liberty and equal protection under the law”]
Honor their Memory
Ms. Crutcher, after 11-years, legally deserves her overdue day in court. Indifference, bias and political expediency should not be allowed to obstruct justice. Sign the petition. There’s strength in numbers. Her justice may be the catalyst to a new civil case and accountability for the Imperial Avenue victims. There is no better way to honor their memory. A voiceless messenger ignored, now speaks for the 11-Women of Imperial Avenue remarkably comes full circle.
Sincerely in our prayers,
Charles D. Newton & Vernice Crutcher