Serial Killer Anthony Sowell's 'House Of Horrors' Demolished (WATCH)
CLEVELAND -- Serial killer Anthony Sowell's three-story "House of Horrors" was demolished early Tuesday morning. A wrecking crew took about 90 minutes to level the dilapidated Cleveland home where the remains of 11 women were found in 2009.
The steady rain and gloom seemed fitting, although the bad weather did nothing to drive away the crowd chanting, "No justice, no peace," as a large excavator began tearing into the wooden structure.
"My sister was a victim in there. My cousin was a victim in there. I'm glad to see it being torn down. It makes me feel the hardship the victims went through," Denise Hunter told The Huffington Post. "I think about where the women were in the house. I think about sadness, loneliness and the demise of them. All the horrible things they had to go through."
Denise Hunter is the sister of Amelda Hunter and cousin to Crystal Dozier, two of Sowell's victims.
PHOTOS: SOWELL TRIAL (Story Continues Below)
Blaine Griffin, executive director of the Cleveland Community Relations Board, said the demolition "is an important step in helping our community heal and move forward." He told the victims' families the home was demolished "to prevent actions that would be disrespectful to the memory of your loved one, your family and our community."
The city of Cleveland condemned the Imperial Avenue house in September, citing 22 violations. According to Mayor Frank Jackson's office, the building had an unstable roof and damaged electrical system and was infested with roaches, fleas, termites and rodents.
The structure was "a menace to public health, safety and welfare," the condemnation notice stated. "It is unsanitary and declared an unsafe structure and a public nuisance."
The property owners -- Anthony Sowell's deceased stepmother, Sergerna Sowell, and a reverse mortgage company, Financial Freedom Acquisition -- had 30 days to fix the violations. On Nov. 15, the city began required asbestos removal.
According to the city's Department of Building and Housing, the property owners will be billed for the demolition. If the bill is not paid, a lien will be placed on the property.
PHOTOS: THE DEMOLITION (Story Continues Below)
In July, Anthony Sowell, 52, was convicted of aggravated murder of the 11 women whose decomposed remains were found at his home. He was also found guilty on scores of additional charges related to the deaths of the women, who began disappearing in 2007.
The bodies were discovered two years ago. Many of the victims had been missing for significant periods of time; most had criminal records and suffered from drug addiction. Nine had traces of cocaine or depressants in their systems. Prosecutors said Sowell lured the victims to his home with the promise of alcohol or drugs.
The bodies of five women were found in shallow graves in Sowell's backyard. Four more bodies were discovered on the third floor of the house, and the remains of two women were discovered in the basement. Several were so badly decomposed that they had to be identified using dental records.
Sowell was sentenced to death and is scheduled for execution on Oct. 29, 2012. He is being held in a Youngstown, Ohio, prison. His case remains on appeal.
According to prosecutor Bill Mason, his office has taken extensive video and thousands of photos of the house in the event that the case has to be retried. "We are confident [that] if we need to try this case again, we will be successful," Mason said.
Angelique Cunningham, a member of the Imperial Women Coalition, an organization that fights for justice for women, said the demolition of the property is a step in the right direction.
"Now the city needs to do something positive with this property," Cunningham told HuffPost.
Hunter agreed and said she would like to see an outreach center built there. "Make it for women and children victims of domestic violence. A safe haven where they can live," she said.
Although the demolition of Sowell's home cannot bring back her loved ones, Hunter believes it will go a long way toward helping her cope with her loss.
"I've been healing ever since day one, but this will help me heal tomorrow," she said.
WATCH RAW VIDEO OF THE DEMOLITION: