Paul Warner Powell

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Paul Warner Powell (April 13, 1978 – March 18, 2010) was a convicted murderer, rapist and pedophile who was executed by the Commonwealth of Virginia via the state's electric chair.


On January 29, 1999, in Manassas, Virginia, then-20-years-old Paul Warner Powell killed his 16-year-old friend, Stacie Reed, upon learning she had a black boyfriend. He first attempted to rape her and stabbed her in the chest, puncturing her heart, when she fought off his advances. Powell then waited, while drinking iced tea and smoking, for Stacie's 14-year-old sister, Kristie Reed, to come home from school. When she did, Powell raped her, strangled her, stabbed her in the stomach, slashed her throat and left her for dead. After finding Stacie's body, the girls' stepfather paged the phone trying to call 911. He frantically searched the house for the phone, and subsequently found Kristie in the basement. Kristie survived the attack, albeit with scars on her neck, and was able to testify against Powell.[1]


Powell was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death, but the verdict was thrown out on appeal by the Virginia Supreme Court when the court decided that there was insufficient evidence to prove that Powell attempted to rape Stacie and that there were no other aggravating factors that would warrant a death sentence: the fact Kristie had been raped couldn't serve as a basis for making Stacie's killing a capital murder.[2] The conviction for the rape of Kristie Reed was upheld, and Powell was given three life sentences. Powell, believing that he no longer faced the death penalty because of double jeopardy, then wrote an abusive letter to the prosecutor and admitted that he attempted to rape Stacie and boasted about his crimes in detail,[3] among several other taunting or threatening letters he sent to the victims' family.

Using the letter that Powell wrote, prosecutors indicted Powell again for the rape and murder of Stacie Reed. Powell was once again convicted, and he was sentenced to death.[2]


Powell chose to be executed by the electric chair instead of lethal injection. He made no final statement.[4] He was executed on March 18, 2010.


Powell was nominated as an "At-Risk Survivor" by the Darwin Awards in 2003.[5]


  1. ^ "Paul Warner Powell #1198". Clark County Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  2. ^ a b Mears, Bill (25 January 2010). "Appeal denied for killer who sent taunting letter". CNN. Retrieved 20 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "Paul Warner Powell". I'm Surrounded By Idiots. Retrieved October 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Virginia executes man in 1999 murder of woman, rape of her sister". The Washington Post. March 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ "The Last Laugh". Darwin Awards. 2003. Retrieved October 26, 2013.