Could a man who's already served 10 years of a 28 year sentence actually be innocent? That's the question being raised by George Powell's defense attorneys and some members of the Killeen community.
In 2009, George Powell was convicted of aggravated robbery of a Killeen 7-Eleven. He has always maintained his innocence, but testimony from a jail informant who claimed Powell confessed to the crime helped land Powell a 28-year sentence. Two attorneys from the Innocence Project of Texas have now picked up the case and spent all day Thursday in court trying to prove Powell's innocence.
Video of the crime is a major focus point because the victim said the robber was around 5-foot-7. However, Powell is more than 6 feet tall.
An affidavit from Demetric Smith, the informant who originally helped put Powell away, was also discussed. In the document, Smith back-tracks saying he lied about everything.
Smith said the Assistant District Attorney offered him a lesser sentence for favorable testimony so he lied and said Powell confessed to him while they were in jail . Smith also said his lawyer and the ADA knew he was lying but urged him to testify anyway. Smith even claimed the ADA gave him a document telling him what to say on the stand.
Assistant District Attorney Paul McWilliams took the stand Thursday afternoon. He helped convict Powell in 2009. McWilliams denied all claims Smith made against him in the affidavit.
Channel 6 spoke to Powell's fiance Tamara Parsons who has played an active role in fighting for Powell's innocence. Parsons said it has been a difficult time for Powell and the rest of the family.
"It's going on a decade now he's been in there for a robbery he didn't do. He's frustrated because he's in a jail right now and it's not a safe environment. It's been hard having to visit him through glass or not visit at all because he's four or five hours away now. It's been four years fighting to get us to this stage and even now it feels like we're at the end but we still don't know what the future holds," Parsons said.
It will be up to Judge John Gauntt to determine if Powell deserves a new trial, should be set free or continue serving his 28-year sentence.
Court will resume Thursday, Dec. 14.