Alabaster murder suspect paroled months before shooting
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
ALABASTER – A 43-year-old Alabaster man who has been charged with the Oct. 30 shooting death of a Chevron gas station clerk was released from prison early on parole several months ago on robbery charges out of Covington County, according to court documents.
Michael Anthony Powell, who lists an address on Third Street Northeast in Alabaster, was convicted on two first-degree robbery charges and a second-degree escape charge in Covington County in 1998, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. He originally was scheduled for release from the St. Clair Correctional Facility in April 2018, but he was granted parole and released to a halfway house following a Jan. 12, 2016, hearing, according to the Alabama Board of Pardons and Paroles.
About 10 months after being released from prison, Powell is now facing allegations he shot and killed 54-year-old Pelham resident Tracy Latty Algar while Algar was working a Sunday morning shift at Alabaster’s Kirkland Chevron off U.S. 31. He has been held in the Shelby County Jail without bond since his Nov. 4 arrest, and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Shelby County District Court on Dec. 5 at 1:30 p.m.
During the crime, Alabaster Police Chief Curtis Rigney said the suspect allegedly entered the gas station, took Algar into the bathroom and shot her in the top of the head, killing her. The suspect allegedly stole a “couple hundred dollars” in the robbery before fleeing the scene on foot, Rigney said.
Alabaster police responded to the gas station at about 11:30 a.m. on Oct. 30 after receiving a report of a robbery at the location. When officers arrived, they discovered the clerk shot to death, according to Rigney. Rigney previously said the shooting likely happened sometime between 9-11:15 a.m.
On Oct. 31, Alabaster police released an image and video of a “person of interest” in the case, and requested the public’s help in identifying the man. The video and the community’s help aided in identifying the suspect, and officers took him into custody at his residence shortly after 5 a.m. on Nov. 4.
Rigney said APD detectives worked 18-to-20-hour days in the days after the crime following up on leads and tips from the community before making the arrest.