Murder, He Wrote: Virginia Man Executed in Case Involving Mocking Letter to Prosecutors

Paul Warner Powell could be the first man put to death in part for sheer cockiness. Powell was convicted in a second trial of the murder and attempted rape of Stacie Reed, 16. The evidence against him included a letter that he wrote to prosecutors mocking them with admissions of his crime after he assumed that he could not be tried again for the crime after a reversal.


Powell was convicted in the 1999 murder of Stacie Reed and the rape of her 14-year-old sister in their Manassas home. In his letter, he wrote “[s]ince I have already been indicted on first degree murder and the Va. Supreme Court said that I can’t be charged with capital murder again, I figured I would tell you the rest of what happened on Jan. 29, 1999, to show you how stupid all of y’all … are.”

He added “I guess I forgot to mention these events when I was being questioned. Ha Ha!” he wrote in 2001. “Do you just hate yourself for being so stupid … and saving me?” Not really. He died at 9 pm last night.

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79 thoughts on “Murder, He Wrote: Virginia Man Executed in Case Involving Mocking Letter to Prosecutors”

  1. C-Eh No, but my spouse did an undergrad at Q’s, as did a number of friends. They loved living there.

  2. Canadian,

    Keep on doin’ that voodoo that you do so well.

    And check your e-mail. 😀

  3. BIL,
    I had better stop casting spells then…or stay the hell away from Saudi Arabia!

  4. EC.
    It is beautiful here…I love it!
    I actually did 1 of my college placements at RTC ( located within the walls of KP )in 1993 about 2 months after Olsen was moved. A college friend had completed her placement there during the semester prior to mine ( she was placed on the sex offender unit, I was on the Mental Health unit ). She had the ” priveledge ” of sitting in on an iinterview with him and later described it as the ” creepiest experience of her life “.
    Did you attend one of the wonderful post secondary institutions in K-town?

  5. Can-Eh: That ‘prison town’ you live in is quite beautiful, isn’t it?

    Creepy story: I was at the K-Pen in about 1987 (student “tour”), and Olson walked right past our little group as we were standing talking to a guard. Being someone who craved attention, he leaned into the group and stuck his hand out for the guard to shake and said “hello my name is clifford olson” (of course the guard knew him, it was just a show for our benefit). He was only allowed out of his cell once a week to go to the canteen and we happened to be there right as he was coming back with his potato chips. What struck me was how small and ordinary he looked. Strange how evil can look so banal.

  6. EC,
    I agree….1st degree murder is an automatic 25 year sentence here( as I stated above ), often 25 years behind bars does not encompass a persons life, depending on age of course. I believe however that in the US ” LIFE ” means ” LIFE “.
    It is typically the high profile convicts who do not get released after 25 years, but the majority do. Let’s face it, people like Bernardo and Olsen are not going to live life on this side of bars again. I am going to check into the 3/4 rule for 1st & 2nd degree murder though because it has always been the understanding of those of us who live in ” Canada’s Prison Town ” that we do have non WE murderers walking amounst us.
    To clarify however, I would not support the death penalty in cases of murder alone. It is not these convicts who terrify me, in fact recidivsm for murder is quite low. I’ve said before on the blog that I believe sentences for sex crimes are ridiculously lenient ( especially given known recidivsm rates…which only include those who are actually caught re-offending )and need to be changes to reflect the crimes more appropriately. My belief is that murderers who commit heinous acts, as in the case of Powell ( or Bernardo, & Olsen for Canadian examples ), should face the death penalty.

  7. I will go with Duh.

    The question is not: “why be nice in executing a heinous criminal?” The question is: “why do we think we have to be nice?” Perhaps because something is telling us we are doing wrong?

  8. “Unfortunately here in Canada life means 25 yrs, and typically release on parole at 3/4 served term with good behaviour”

    This is not accurate, Can-Eh.

    A conviction for first degree murder in Canada automatically means life imprisonment without the possibility for parole for 25 years. The 25 year marks is the minumum you have to serve before you become eligible for parole. There is no getting out on good behaviour at the 3/4 mark and you do not automatically get out after 25 years. You still have to convince the parole board that it is safe to release you. If they say no, you stay inside and you can only apply for parole once every 2 years. You can keep trying but, if you can’t convince the parole board to let you out, you spend the rest of your life in prison.

    Second degree murder is the same – an automatic lfe sentence – but the minimum time for parole eligibility is between 10 and 25 years (set by the judge). Again, you only become eligible for parole after that minimum time, you do not automatically get it.

    There is something called the “faint hope clause” that allows people who are serving life sentences with a minimum parole eligibility of 15 years or more to apply for parole after 15 years. But it is rarely, if ever, successfully used.

  9. It’s Duh’s condition but I hear once you take micoxifalin if you have an adverse reaction you go right on to micoxifillin 🙂

  10. Canadian,

    That explains why my wife is always sneezing when she’s at home.
    You just saved me the trouble of dusting our ceiling fan.

  11. Buddah…
    I’m an old wife, and the grand daughter of an Irish Catholic….your ears ring when someone is talking about you and your nose itches when you’re about to kiss a fool.

  12. Duh….
    ” I don’t know how it is in Canada, but here in the U.S. it costs more to put them to death, than it does to have them serve a life sentence. ”

    Unfortunately here in Canada life means 25 yrs, and typically release on parole at 3/4 served term with good behaviour with the exception of criminals who are deemed ” Dangerous Offenders “. In order to attain the honour of a dangerous offender designation, a criminal needs to commit, be charged & convicted, and have served time during their life with several violent offences. In short, it is not often a designation imposed.

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