HUDSON–Warren Powell appeared unaffected by the sentence of 25 years-to-life in state prison imposed on him in Columbia County Court June 16 for the brutal murder of his wife and unborn child.
Mr. Powell, now 38, was convicted April 17 of second degree murder in the October 1, 1994 slaying of his wife, Mary Ann (Tasick) Powell, then 21. She was six-months pregnant at the time of her death.
The couple lived in Halfmoon, Saratoga County, at the time of the murder. Her decomposed body was discovered in the Hudson River May 25, 1996 by campers hiking near Gay’s point in Stockport. A thick rope was wound through her mouth and around her neck and she was stuffed in a hockey bag weighed down with rocks.
Mr. Powell was previously convicted of the same crime in August 1997. He successfully appealed that conviction in December 2004 on the basis of an error during jury selection by the trial judge.
Speaking on behalf of the District Attorney’s Office, Assistant District Attorney David Costanzo, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney H. Neal Conolly, addressed the court prior to sentencing by Judge Jonathan Nichols.
Upon his 1997 conviction, the court sentenced Mr. Powell to 25 years to life in prison, the maximum sentence, said Mr. Costanzo. Since then Mr. Powell has been continuously incarcerated in state prison, yet he has never accepted responsibility for his crime, never expressed remorse and never sought possible rehabilitation. “He has not done anything. He is as dangerous as he was in 1997,” said Mr. Costanzo.
Recounting the “brutal” and “calculated” murder, the ADA said that during the strangulation, the rope had been pulled so tight, “it broke the bones in her neck.”
Mr. Powell has “shown no remorse for the pain he has put the Tasicks through, nor any regret for what he has put his own family through. He only cares about himself and is only sorry that he was caught and convicted,” he said.
Describing Mr. Powell as “manipulative,” ADA Costanzo said Mr. Powell “went to great lengths to cover up the crime,” and “tried to blame his own father and police” in the course of his defense and “may have succeeded had it not been for the hard work of police.”
Mr. Costanzo said the only appropriate sentence is the maximum, 25 years-to-life in state prison, and he called for the sentence to run consecutively following the 15-to-30-year sentence in state prison that the defendant is currently serving on a criminal drug sales conviction.
Defense Attorney Stephen Coffey said he had a great deal of respect for the prosecutors. He said that while it seemed inconceivable that the court would not impose the maximum sentence, he asked the judge to use his discretion and not impose a consecutive sentence.
Mr. Coffey said that to this day his client asserts his innocence and that, while the jury rejected his version and accepted the version of events proffered by the people, “we simply disagree.”
When asked if he would like to make a statement on his own behalf, Mr. Powell said, “No, I don’t think I have anything to say.”
Though he appeared almost professorial during his 11-day retrial–wearing glasses, a button-down shirt and sweater–at his sentencing Mr. Powell wore a brown sweatshirt, no glasses and was unshaven.
Judge Nichols imposed the maximum sentence to run consecutively and fined Mr. Powell a mandatory surcharge of $155.
Mr. Coffey told the court he would file the “appropriate notice of appeal” but thanked the judge for according his client a fair trial to the best of his ability.
Barbara and Joseph Tasick, Mary Ann’s parents, were in the courtroom for the sentencing though they delivered no victim impact statement to the court.
Mrs. Tasick wept gratefully at the pronouncement of the maximum sentence and they both thanked and hugged the many police officers who investigated the crime as they made their way out of the courtroom.
A few of the jurors who found Mr. Powell guilty were there to witness the sentencing and see the case to its conclusion.
Mr. Powell’s mother, Roxanne Powell, was there also, as she had been throughout the trial. She left the courthouse silently and alone.
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