A man charged with killing 11 women and dumping their remains around his property told police "I guess I did that" when asked about the bodies found in his home, according to an interrogation video played Thursday for jurors in his murder trial.
Anthony Sowell let out a cry of anguish and buried his head in his hands as two detectives pressed him in the taped interrogation to explain how the bodies ended up in his Cleveland house.
"It had to be me," Sowell said in the video, rubbing his head with his hands. "I can't describe nobody. I cannot do it. I don't know. But I'm trying to."
Sowell told detectives during the interrogation that he heard in his head a voice that told him not to go into a third-floor bedroom where two bodies were found. He also told them about "blackouts" and "nightmares" in which he would hurt women with his hands. He told detectives that he began losing control of his anger about the time the victims started disappearing.
When one detective described a body that was found in his basement, Sowell became visibly upset again in the video.
"I guess I did that, too," he said. "Cause nobody else could've did it."
Sowell, 51, has pleaded not guilty in the deaths of the 11 women, many struggling with addictions and troubled lives, who disappeared starting in October 2007. He could face the death penalty if convicted.
Throughout the eight-hour interrogation, which was conducted in 2009 as the bodies were still being uncovered, Sowell smoked cigarettes, drank coffee and ate a fast-food meal brought in by police.
The blackouts sometimes happened when Sowell had a woman over, he told detectives, and they happened sometimes when the woman reminded him of his ex-girlfriend. And when he came out of the blackout, the woman would have disappeared, he told detectives.
"Reminded me of my girl, that's the best I can tell you. It was like everything's cool, she was spending the night or something," Sowell said on the video. "And I'd be like, `Damn, where'd you go?'"
The detectives pressed him about the women who spent time at his home, asking if they ever did anything to make him angry. He said some women angered him because they were doing drugs and they had children at home.
"One thing that always made me mad was they had kids," he told detectives. "That's a big thing in my head."
During the video, Sowell told detectives about how he was "kinda scared" when he saw that a pair of his sandals had blood on them.
"I used to wear my sandals around the house," he said. "And when I went to get 'em, I said, `Oh, I must've stepped in some blood or something.'"
Asked about a discovery on the third floor, Sowell's easygoing attitude quickly disappeared, and he began rubbing his head, taking deep breaths and rhythmically rocking in a chair in a police office cubicle.
"It might be the most important 15 minutes of your life," an officer told Sowell.
"I don't know. I don't know what happened," Sowell responded in the video.
Asked by a detective when he started losing control of his anger, Sowell said 2008 or 2009. The last victim vanished in September 2009.
Officers offered a fresh cup of coffee to try to settle down Sowell, who was tapping his feet and crossing and uncrossing his legs.
"Can you name some of the people?" an officer asked, saying families wanted to know what happened to their loved ones.
"I don't remember names," Sowell said.
Associated Press writer Meghan Barr contributed to this report.