Chevron murder suspect to undergo mental evaluation

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

COLUMBIANA – The murder trial originally set to begin on June 10 has been put on hold for a 46-year-old Alabaster man who has been charged with shooting and killing a Chevron convenience store clerk during a 2016 robbery, as he is set to undergo a psychiatric mental evaluation with the Alabama Department of Mental Health.

Powell

Michael Anthony Powell, who lists an address on Simmsville Road, originally was set to stand trial beginning on June 10, but the trial was postponed after the mental evaluation was ordered on June 7.

The evaluation will determine Powell’s “mental condition at the time of the alleged offense, including any possible mental disease or defect, any relation, if any, of the same to the alleged offense, and specifically all grounds used to determine whether or not (Powell), as a result of any such disease or defect, might have been unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of the alleged offense,” read the court order.

The evaluation also will determine Powell’s “present ability to assist” his defense attorneys, read the order.

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 a previous request to bar the death penalty in Powell’s case, Powell’s attorney 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.

Bostick denied the request to bar the death penalty in December 2017.