JARRATT, Va. (CBS/AP) Paul Warner Powell, the man who killed a teen girl and then bragged about it to prosecutors once he thought he could not face the death penalty was executed Thursday.
The 31-year-old died by electrocution at 9:09 p.m. at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt. He chose electrocution rather than lethal injection.
Powell appeared emotionless as guards strapped him to the oak chair and attached metal clamps to his right calf and head. When asked if he had any last words, he remained silent and stared at the ceiling.
Powell was convicted in 2000 and sentenced to death for fatally stabbing 16-year-old Stacie Reed of Manassas. He also raped and attempted to kill her 14-year-old sister.
The Virginia Supreme Court overturned that verdict, and Powell wrote a taunting letter to prosecutors detailing the crime. He was convicted again in 2003.
In his four-page, profanity-laced letter to Prince William County Commonwealth's Attorney Paul Ebert, Powell described how he went to Stacie's house because he was angry at her for having a black boyfriend. He wrote that he attempted to rape her and then stabbed her in the heart when she fought off his advances. Afterward, Powell went downstairs, smoked a cigarette, drank some iced tea and waited for her younger sister, Kristie, to come home from school. He raped her, slit her throat, stabbed her and left her for dead.
Kristie survived and testified against Powell. The Associated Press usually does not identify victims of sexual assault, but Kristie, now 25, gave permission to use her name.
Kristie and the girls' mother, Lorraine Whoberry, witnessed the execution with Ebert.
Whoberry revealed that the family had spoken with Powell by phone on Wednesday for more than an hour. She said he delivered what she thought was a heartfelt apology. She said Powell told her he had not forgiven himself, and that she left the meeting with some peace.
"I feel like justice has been served and now we can close this chapter of the journey," Whoberry said after the execution.
Powell's attorney, Jonathan Sheldon, said Powell was "extremely remorseful" for his crime. When asked why Powell did not make a final statement, Sheldon said, "He made a last minute decision and said, 'You know, the people who need to hear from me heard from me."'
Powell was the 106th Virginia inmate executed since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated capital punishment in 1976. Only Texas, with 451, has executed more inmates.
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