Judge denies gas station murder suspect’s request to bar death penalty

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – A Shelby County Circuit Court judge has denied a request to bar the death penalty in a case against a 44-year-old Alabaster man who is facing allegations he shot and killed a clerk at a local Chevron gas station in 2016.

Powell

Judge William Bostick denied the request from Michael Anthony Powell, who lists an address on Simmsville Road, during a Dec. 5 hearing at the Shelby County Courthouse.

In motions filed in Shelby County Circuit Court on Oct. 19, Powell’s attorney Everett Wess filed requests to bar the death penalty in the case and to allow Powell to be released from jail pending trial. Wess later withdrew the request to grant Powell bond.

Powell 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 claimed 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.

As of Dec. 7, a new court date had not been set for Powell in Shelby County Circuit Court.