Derrick Powell – Black, age 21

Sentenced in Sussex County, Delaware
By: a judge upon jury recommendation (7-5)
Date of crime: September 2009
Victim: Chad Spicer
Prosecution’s case/defense response:   Powell and his accomplices set up a robbery of a drug dealer when he began firing.  Spicer and his partner were in their police cruiser and chased Powell and his accomplices after a report regarding a shooting.  Powell fired the single shot that killed Spicer.  He was also convicted of first degree murder-felony, resisting arrest, attempted robbery, reckless endangerment, and four associated firearms possession charges.  The defense argued Powell had a troubled, abusive upbringing and had received brain damage.  During the sentencing, the judge referred to Powell as “cold-blooded,” “explosive and violent” and “a self-centered person who defied all authority.”
Sources: News Journal (DE) 2/24/11 (2011 WLNR 3751925),  News Journal (DE) 5/22/11 (2011 WLNR 3751925).

Leslie Small – Black, age 50

Sentenced in Sussex County, Delaware
By: a judge upon jury recommendation (unanimous)
Date of crime: November 2009
Victim: June McCarson, 78
Prosecution’s case/defense response:  Small, having ferried McCarson around town in his taxi, followed her into her apartment to rob her.  He choked her, broke her back, and stabbed her 20 times attempting to steal her purse and silence her.  The defense argued that this was a cocaine induced delusion and that Small deserved a manslaughter or second-degree murder charge.  The prosecution argued that his presence of mind in attempting to destroy evidence showed he was in control at the time.  The court in sentencing him also noted his long criminal history including armed robbery, rape and kidnapping, and a series of robberies ranging from 1976 to the present.
Sources: Salisbury Daily Times (MD) 7/27/11 (Pg. Unavail. Online) (2011 WLNR 14837045).