Alabama set to execute man for brutal 1995 murder

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 16, 2011 10:08 AM
Alabama set to execute man for brutal 1995 murder

By Monique Fields

TUSCALOOSA, Ala (Reuters) - A man convicted of raping, sodomizing and murdering a 70-year-old woman in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama in 1995 is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Thursday.

The execution of Eddie Duvall Powell, 41, is set for 6 p.m. local time at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore.

Powell has been on death row for 12 years, and his execution would be the fourth in Alabama this year.

Amnesty International has urged Governor Robert Bentley to commute Powell's death sentence due to his lawyers' arguments that he has a mental disability that would render his execution unconstitutional.

"Alabama's governor should spare Eddie Powell's life," Susan Lee, a program director at Amnesty International, said in a written statement. "The power of executive clemency is not constrained in the same way the courts are and he should take this opportunity."

Powell and a friend lived across the street from Mattie Wesson in Holt, Alabama. On the morning of March 25, 1995, Powell borrowed his friend's leather jacket and attacked Wesson in her home.

Powell's handprint was found on the window on the front of her home -- where a screen had been cut -- and his semen was found on her body. Her blood was found on his pants and on the borrowed leather jacket, according to court documents.

Powell took small change and jewelry from the home. He purchased wine with mostly nickels at a nearby gas station, and jewelry similar to Wesson's was found in the pockets of the leather jacket.

Powell was tried twice. The first trial ended in a mistrial when the jury could not agree on the punishment. A second jury found him guilty of murder and recommended the death penalty, which Alabama's appellate courts upheld.

In Texas, a man who stabbed a fellow inmate in a state prison in 1999 also is scheduled to be executed on Thursday.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Greg McCune)