Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Execution Date Set for William D. Powell

State officials have announced a March 11th execution date for death row inmate William Powell #0239098.


William Dillard Powell murdered Pantry convenience store clerk Mary Gladden on October 31st, 1991, by beating her on the head and face with a tire tool or lug wrench. Gladden was murdered for about $48 that was stolen from the register. Powell was observed at the crime scene; one eyewitness actually saw Powell inside the store at the approximate time (within 6 minutes) of the murder. Other evidence indicating Powell’s guilt includes taped confessions.

This murder was particularly brutal. The victim had numerous lacerations on her face, with corresponding skull fractures underneath. Part of her left ear was torn off. Her nose was broken on the left side, and her left eye was displaced due to a fracture of the bone behind the eye. The victim also had lacerations on her forearm and hand, indicating that she struggled for her life. Further, she had internal injuries. For example, she had bone fragments embedded in her brain from the numerous fractures. Her brain was torn in some places and protruded from the skull in others. Finally, she had several bruises on her brain and a sub-dural hemorrhage.

Powell has been determined to have an average IQ and normal concentration skills, language functions, sensory ability, and visual ability. Evidence showed that Powell was raised in a loving family, had worked as a jailer and with the fire department, and was well liked and not violent. An expert in psychology and neuropsychology, testified that he performed comprehensive testing of defendant on 22 November 1992. The results showed that defendant's memory, problem-solving skills, and motor functions are impaired. This was the result of using about a half gram of cocaine each day. Until two months prior to the murder the drugs were purchased from cashing social security checks that were meant for the support of his son. Prosecutors argued that Powell’s drug habit and lack of money is what motivated him to rob the grocery.

Two jailers at the Cleveland County jail testified that defendant had adjusted well to life as an inmate and had caused no problems. *Note: This contradicts his prison infraction record.

More information can be found in the State Supreme Court Opinion (Click Here)