Alabaster gas station murder suspect seeks to bar death penalty

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A 44-year-old Alabaster man who has been charged with shooting and killing the clerk at a local Chevron gas station in 2016 is asking the court to bar the death penalty in his capital murder case, and has asked he be issued a bond to allow him to be released from jail pending his trial.

Powell

In motions filed in Shelby County Circuit Court on Oct. 19, Everett Wess, the attorney for Alabaster resident Michael Anthony Powell, made the requests for his client.

Powell, who lists an address on Third Street Northeast in Alabaster, was indicted by a Shelby County grand jury in November 2016 on a capital murder charge originally brought against him by the Alabaster Police Department on Oct. 30, 2016.

Powell is 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.

In the Chevron shooting, 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.

He has been held in the Shelby County Jail without bond since his Nov. 4, 2016 arrest, and allegedly attempted to identify himself as another inmate in the jail in early December 2016, according to his arrest warrants.

In the request to bar the death penalty in Powell’s case, Wess claims Powell’s “indictment fails to allege the existence of any aggravating circumstances which would authorize a sentence of death.”

“The failure of the indictment to allege one or more aggravating circumstances precludes the state from requesting the death penalty, and bars this court from sentencing the defendant to death in the event that he is convicted of capital murder for the reasons stated in this motion,” read the request.

In the request to issue Powell a bond, Wess claimed Powell “does not pose a threat to the community or to himself should he be released,” and claimed Powell “is not a flight risk or does he present a threat of committing further criminal offenses.”

“The granting of  this  motion (to issue bond) would  be  in  the  best  interest  of  the  defendant, insuring  his  ability  to maintain  employment  and  thereby  make  payment  of  current  and future obligations and to provide for his family,” read the motion.

As of Oct. 24, Shelby County Circuit Court Judge William Bostick had not yet ruled on the pair of motions.