Trial Begins For Man Accused Of Killing Wife

FRANKFORT, KY -- Trial starts Monday in Frankfort for man accused of killing his wife, reports the Frankfort State Journal.

An occasionally bizarre murder case that alleges former Frankfort resident Robert Van Powell murdered his wife is scheduled to start Monday, three and a half years after the death of Teresa Powell, reports the State Journal.

Robert Powell was indicted in July 2004 on charges of murdering his wife, who was 41 when she died on June 3 of that year. Prosecutors say Powell smothered her with a pillow. Powell's defense contends his wife, who had been very ill, died of an overdose of medication, reports the newspaper.

Defense attorney Guthrie True said he plans to call five or six witnesses. Commonwealth's Attorney Larry Cleveland said he'll call upwards of 30. Different estimates thrown around the Franklin County Court House have the trial lasting anywhere from one to two weeks.

In a September hearing, True sought to suppress confessions Powell made to his sons, his in-laws and police. Friday at a pre-trial conference in Franklin Circuit Court, Judge Thomas Wingate denied True's request to suppress two of the three statements, reports the State Journal.

Wingate will allow the jury to hear testimony regarding Powell's June 30, 2004, confession to his in-laws, Charles and Phyllis Palmer, and his sons, Michael and Steven Powell, in which he admitted to killing Teresa Powell.

Robert Powell also confessed again that day when a Frankfort police officer arrived at his home. Wingate also is allowing this confession in the trial, reports the newspaper.

That night at the Frankfort Regional Medical Center, Robert Powell made a similar statement. Wingate is not allowing a jury to hear this because Powell was in the hospital at the time and "suffering from some kind of mental illness."

Copyright: Frankfort State Journal

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