The case of

Stacey Reed

Victim

Stacey Reed

Victim Race

Caucasian

Victim Date of Birth

1978-04-13

Victim Age
Date Reported
Date of Death
Case Status

Closed

Incident Location

Manassas, Virginia

Body Location

Manassas, Virginia

Date of Conviction
Body Discovered Date

1999-01-29

Murderer

Paul Warner Powell III

Who is Paul Warner Powell?

Paul Warner Powell was a self-proclaimed racist and white supremacist. Stacey Reed was a neighbor of Paul Warner Powell’s, and the two had been friends since childhood. Their friendship was always platonic but as they grew up, Paul, four years older than Stacey, became obsessed with her. A relationship between twenty-year-old Paul and sixteen-year-old Stacey would have been illegal if Stacey was interested, which she wasn’t.

Stacey always politely turned Paul Warner Powell down whenever he asked her out. She let him know she already had a boyfriend, Sean Wilkerson. Not only was Paul infuriated to find out Stacey had a boyfriend, but Sean Wilkerson was African American, and Paul was a racist. The neo-nazi racist couldn’t stand that the girl he wanted was dating someone he hated.

Sean Wilkerson had recently moved, but he and Stacey stayed together. Stacey belonged to the Junior Reserve Officer’s Training program through her high school. She planned to attend their military ball and take Sean as her date. In January 1999, Paul Warner Powell decided to confront Stacey about her relationship with Sean ending all of Stacey’s hopes and dreams.

Before the Murder of Stacey Reed

On January 29, 1999, Stacey Reed arrived home from school around noon. Midterm exams were being given that day, and Stacey finished them early. When Stacey got home, Paul Warner Powell vwas at her house waiting for her. Paul didn’t know Stacey’s mother’s boyfriend was stopping by, so he left and returned when he knew the man was gone.

Paul brought several knives and a pistol with him to Stacey’s house. When Paul walked into Stacey’s house, she was on the phone with Sean, which only fueled Paul’s anger. After Stacey hung up the phone with her boyfriend, Paul confronted her about her relationship. He demanded Stacey braked up with Sean, and the two started yelling at each other.

The Murder of Stacey Reed and Assault of Kristie Reed

The only witness to what happened next was Paul Warner Powell, he said the argument with Stacey got physical, and he accidentally stabbed her. Paul and Stacye continued fighting until Stacye fell to the floor of her sister Kristie’s bedroom. Despite saying he didn’t mean to stab Stacey on purpose, Paul never attempted to revive her or call 911. Instead, Paul wandered around Stacey’s house and made himself a glass of iced tea. He sat down, drank his drink, and waited for Kristie to arrive home from school.

Fourteen-year-old Kristie got home around 3:00 PM. Paul was standing at her front door and told her Stacey was in Kristie’s bedroom. He followed Krstie into her bedroom, where she was greeted by the sight of her sister Stacey’s bloody body. Kirstie dropped her school bag and started to cry.

Knowing Paul Warner Powell typically had a firearm on him, Kristie complied when he told her to go downstairs to the basement. Paul forced the teenager to remove her clothes before sexually assaulting her. As Kristie begged Paul not to murder her, a friend of Kristie’s from school, Mark Lewis, knocked on the front door.

Paul bound Kristie’s hands and feet with her shoelace and left the basement but returned a short while later. He used the shoelace to choke Kristie unconscious, then used one of his many knives to cut her wrists, throat, and abdomen. Before exiting the house, Paul searched for anything to steal and made a glass of iced tea for the road. After leaving, Paul Warner Powell went to a friend’s house and then on a road trip to find crack cocaine.

Evidence Against Paul Warner Powell

Shortly after Paul left, Kristie woke up. When Kristie heard her mother’s boyfriend return home, she shouted to him from the basement. As soon as he saw Kristie’s body, he called 911 and started covering up her wounds to stop the bleeding. When they arrived, the paramedics discovered Stacey’s deceased body on Kristie’s bedroom floor.

Kristie was conscious when the paramedics arrived and told them it was Paul Warner Powell who assaulted her and murdered her sister. Police officers found Paul the same day. He was at the home of his friend’s girlfriend. After purchasing crack cocaine, Paul went to hide there.

Detectives had the blood on Paul’s knife checked for DNA, which was a match for Stacey. The DNA found on Kristie after her sexual assault was also a match for Paul. Paul incriminated himself when he wrote letters in prison admitting to murdering Stacey because of her relationship with Sean Wilkerson. In one letter, Paul told a female friend to threaten Kristie not to testify against him, or she’ll die.

Acquittal and Re-sentencing of Paul Warner Powell

Paul Warner Powell was charged with one capital murder charge. Kristie testified against Paul at his trial, showing everyone the scars on her neck, arms and stomach that she would wear forever. A jury convicted Paul to death, but the Virginia Supreme Court threw the conviction out on one of Paul’s appeals.

The Virginia Supreme Court decided there was not enough evidence to determine Paul attempted to assault Stacey sexually; therefore, there were no aggravating circumstances to the murder. Even though Paul sexually assaulted Stacey, that had no determination in his sentencing. His death sentence was overturned, and he was convicted on the capital murder charge and received a sentence of life imprisonment. Paul Warner Powell believed this meant he could make a double jeopardy claim if convicted again.

Thinking he was free from his death sentence because of the double jeopardy claim, Paul wrote harassing letters to the family of Stacey, Kristie, and the prosecutor. In the letters, Paul wrote that he did attempt to assault Stacey sexually and went into graphic detail about his heinous crimes. He boasted, “Do you just hate yourself for being so stupid and for messing up and saving me?”

Since Paul Warner Powell’s death sentence was vacated and he was not acquitted, the double jeopardy claim would not apply to him, and he could still get the death penalty. Prosecutors used Paul’s letters as evidence and retried him for Stacey’s murder. Again, Paul faced a conviction for capital murder, and a jury sentenced him to death, and this time the death sentence stuck.

Execution

While on death row, Paul Warner Powell chose to die by the electric chair over lethal injection. The day before his death sentence was carried out, Paul spoke to the Reed family on the telephone, apologized to them, and acknowledged how senseless his actions were in January 1999. On March 18, 2010, the electric chair carried out Paul’s death sentence. He was the second to last person to die by the electric chair in Virginia. Lethal injection became the primary method until 2021 when the state abolished the death penalty.

FAQ

Why was Paul Werner Powell III arrested?

Paul Warner Powell was arrested on a charge of capital murder after he brutally murdered Stacie Reed and assaulted her sister.

Who did Paul Warner Powell murder? 

Paul Powell murdered Stacie Reed.

When did Paul Warner Powell die? 

Paul Warner Powell was executed on March 18, 2010

 

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