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. May this layman say that on this site I learn so much at times and laugh so hard at times,it a great balancing act.

  2. EC,

    “innocent people will be executed. It’s inevitable”

    I agree. That’s something I find to be unacceptable. We also know that some have confessed to a crime in order to protect another. We may have killed an innocent person because they chose to protect a loved one. How many fathers have taken the fall for a child? In those cases we killed someone for having a poor sense of justice, and the real murderer keeps walking the streets.

    Unless I see them do it, and it’s the only way I can ensure that they won’t do it again, I can’t support the death penalty. Maybe age has made me soft. I’d like to think it is the result of wisdom gained by living those years.

  3. Nobody could possibly feel sorry that the sociopathic punk in this story is no longer around to terrorize and harm young women. But at one point or another the judges, juries, police etc felt just as certain of the guilt of the people I listed above. Yet they are innocent (not just not guilty, but actually/factually innocent). Supporting the death penalty means that you accept, as part of the ‘cost’ of having it, that sometimes innocent people will be executed. It’s inevitable.

  4. Buddha:

    good advice to Bdaman, but I thought ringing in the ears for a prolonged period of time meant liberalitis was setting in. πŸ™‚


    you better get to a doctor quick, it can change your perspective and it makes you dizzy. In other words political and philosophical “Vertigo” πŸ™‚

  5. “It’d be a game show.”

    I agree.

    I think lethal injection sits well with people because they think of it as just putting someone to sleep. Hanging, electrocution, and firing squad made them consciously recognize that someone was actually being killed.

    If the jury imposed the death penalty, why not have the same jury all have to push the button?

    I have noticed that most who confess manage to avoid the death penalty. I find that to be a mockery of our judicial system.

  6. Duh,

    The Soviets have executions as they should be.

    Once they found their first verifiable serial killer, Andrei Chikatilo, and tried and sentenced him? He was taken to a tiled room with a drain in the floor and shot in the back of the head.





    The utility of public executions in this day and age would be a fiasco. Our populace is far to desensitized to violence from years of Hollywood training. It wouldn’t be a deterrent.

    It’d be a game show.

  7. Just for grins suppose that one person is arrested seven times and has seven different DNA conclusions by none other than the Houston Testing Center…..I suppose.

  8. Buddha,

    It was the Alarm Clock, that Travel one with double bells….

  9. Well sir it was about the 8th Am Cruel and Unusual Punishment that went from Hanging or Shooting, to Sparkin, to Injections. I think that Utah still allows Shooting, but I am not sure.

    It is alleged that Bean used to leave me hang for a while to send a message.

  10. AY,

    I don’t understand the thought process behind “kill the bastard, but do it humanely”. Public hangings at least sent a public message.

    We’re not really worried about how it makes them (the killer) feel. They’re the bastard receiving the blunt of our vengeance. Lethal injection makes us (society) feel better about doing it. We want a guy to rot in hell (the most horrid existence we can imagine) but we want to be nice about how we send him there? Am I the only one that sees the conflict?

  11. It’s all that working in the yard! That hot Texas sun will get ya!

    That or somebody is talking about you.

    Or is that when your nose itches? I get so confused with Old Wives Tales being that I am neither old nor a wife.

  12. bdaman,

    No ringing in the ears here. But from other experiences, you might want to get that checked by a professional. Ringing in the ears is a more serious symptom than most people would think. If the infection has reached there, you might be risking permanent hearing loss.

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