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I always seemed to enjoy everything that hurt. The desire to inflict pain, that is all that is uppermost.

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Paul Powell - Virginia Death Row - Scheduled Execution
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Start : Thursday 18 March 2010, 23:00
End : Thursday 18 March 2010, 23:00

Paul Powell - Virginia Death Row - Execution set for July 14, 2009


Victims: Stacie and Kristie Reed

The Crime: Powell stabbed 16-year-old Stacie Reed and her 14-year-old sister Kristie, leaving their stepfather to find them when he got home from work. Kristie, though her throat was slashed, survived. Her sister, who suffered a stab wound to the heart, did not.

Powell was originally convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death in 2000, but the Supreme Court of Virginia tossed out the conviction.

Justices ruled that the attacks on Stacie and Kristie were separate crimes, and did not rise to capital murder.

After that ruling, Powell sent a letter laced with profanity to Ebert, giving chilling details of Stacie’s death.

He wrote about attempting to rape the struggling girl before stabbing her to death.

“Since the Supreme Court said I can’t be charged with capital murder again, I can tell you what I just told you because I no longer have to worry about the death penalty. And y’all are supposed to be so … smart,” Powell wrote.

The letter gave Ebert evidence of a second felony in the commission of the killing, and charged Powell with capital murder again.

He was convicted in 2003, and the appeals began soon after. Through the years, state appeals courts and the Virginia Supreme Court have upheld his conviction.

In the federal appeal just decided, Powell’s attorneys argued his conviction should be thrown out on the grounds his original legal counsel was ineffective. They also argued that trying him a second time in Stacie’s death amounted to double jeopardy.

The appeals court disagreed.

Paul Warner Powell, whose taunting letter to prosecutors led to his conviction, was electrocuted tonight at 9:09 for the 1999 murder of a 16-year-old girl in her Manassas-area home.

He declined to make a statement.

Powell, 31, was sentenced to death for the Jan. 29, 1999, slaying of Stacie Reed, stabbed to death with a survival knife. After killing her, Powell then waited for her 14-year-old-sister to return home from school, raped her, cut her throat and left her for dead.

Kristie Reed lived and testified against him.

Powell's first capital-murder conviction was thrown out on appeal.

Believing he no longer could face a death sentence, he wrote Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul B. Ebert an abusive letter in which he admitted he attempted to rape Stacie and boasted about the crimes in detail.

The letter provided grounds for Powell to be tried again for capital murder and sentenced to death. Gov. Bob McDonnell turned down his clemency request last week.

Powell boasted about the crimes in his letter to Ebert.

"It was heart-wrenching to read that letter. To know a lot of the details that we couldn't prove or didn't know in the first trial," the girls' mother, Lorraine Reed Whoberry, said at a news conference earlier today in Richmond.

"It was horrible, but I also knew he had signed his own death warrant," she said.

Whoberry revealed today that she had a conference call yesterday with Powell.

"He was able to say he was sorry and he made the point several times that [the crime] was senseless, it was pointless. . . . He couldn't really give us a reason why," she said.

"I think it was heartfelt. It wasn't a big to-do thing. It was just a simplistic, 'I'm sorry,' and I accept that," Whoberry said. The call was made in the Fairfax law office of Jonathan P. Sheldon, Powell's lawyer, and was attended by Kristie Reed and other family members.

Whoberry said her sister, Theresa Davidson of Texas, "kind of facilitated the conversation." The call started shortly after noon yesterday and lasted, with some interruptions, for an hour to an hour and a half.

"As the conversation went on he was able to open up a little bit more. He wasn't belligerent, he didn't raise his voice. It was very civil," she said. "The questions that we asked, he answered to the best of his ability."

"I did ask him at some point if he had forgiven himself, and he got emotional and he said, 'No.' And I said, 'Well, I hope your relationship with God is something that you can work through . . . before tomorrow night,' and we let him know that we are praying for him and his mom, his family," Whoberry said.

Whoberry said she has forgiven Powell, for her own sake, and that she had hoped to meet with him. Authorities denied permission for a meeting with Powell, who was abusive toward the family and law-enforcement officials in letters after his arrest.

Regarding the execution, "this is the day we've been waiting for 11 years," Whoberry said. "There really aren't any words to express how I feel right now. . . . I know that for myself it's been a long road," she said this afternoon.

"Hopefully when this is done and it is final, we can look back and find the positive things that came out of this that we strived so hard to make happen. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family."

Powell chose to die in the electric chair instead of by injection. Virginia death row inmates were given the choice on Jan. 1, 1995. If an inmate refuses to choose, injection becomes the default means.

Two cycles of electricity are used in executions, each lasting 90 seconds with a pause between them. Since the choice was made available, 76 inmates have died by injections and now six by electrocution.

The execution was the 106th in Virginia since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed the death penalty to resume in 1976. Powell's death leaves 12 men and one woman sentenced to death in the state.


Last Meal: Unknown

Final Statement: Inmate declined a final statement

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