- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 15, 2009

RICHMOND | The family of a 16-year-old girl killed by a jealous male friend said they would continue to fight for justice the day after the man convicted in her death got a reprieve from the U.S. Supreme Court.

Paul Warner Powell, 31, was scheduled to be executed Tuesday for the 1999 stabbing death of Stacie Reed, but the court postponed his death until it decides whether to take up his claim that he was unconstitutionally convicted twice for the same crime.

Instead of heading to Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, where the execution was to take place, the family talked to reporters Tuesday afternoon under shade trees on Capitol Square.

“We will continue to wait. We will continue to fight because we’re not done yet,” said the girl’s mother, Lorraine Whoberry, who drove from Cincinnati to watch Powell die.

“If he is or isn’t executed, that’s in God’s hands.”

Powell was convicted in 2000 of killing Stacie and raping and attempting to kill her 14-year-old sister.

The Virginia Supreme Court overturned the verdict, saying Powell couldn’t get the death penalty because he did not rape or rob Stacie or commit other death-qualifying offenses.

Powell, a self-avowed racist, then wrote a taunting letter to Prince William County Commonwealth’s Attorney Paul B. Ebert detailing how he went to Stacie’s house to talk to her about her black boyfriend, pinned her down on the bed and threatened to rape her, then stabbed her in the heart when she fought back.

He then went downstairs, had a cigarette and some iced tea, and waited on her younger sister to get home from school.

Mr. Ebert threw out the earlier indictment and charged Powell with killing and attempting to rape Stacie - a capital crime. Powell was convicted again in 2003 and sent back to death row.

Powell also wrote Mrs. Whoberry three taunting letters after he was locked up.

“Not only did Mr. Powell taunt his victims by contacting them when he was in prison, but we have the same thing happening again through the legal system,” said Mr. Ebert, who planned to watch the execution with the victims’ family. “They’re being victimized again in my opinion.”

Powell’s execution will be pushed back until at least September, the first review conference in which the Supreme Court justices could consider the petition, said Jonathan Sheldon, Powell’s attorney.

Stacie’s family said although justice wasn’t served Tuesday, they think Powell eventually will be executed.

Stacie’s younger sister, Kristie Reed, is now 24 and lives in Texas. She still has scars on her neck where Powell slit her throat during his attack on her.

She also has a cross tattoo on her hip with her sister’s name and the day she died.

“I’m a little upset, but it will happen when it’s time,” she said of the execution.

The Associated Press doesn’t usually identify victims of sexual assault, but Ms. Reed gave permission for her name to be used.

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