Son pleads guilty to father’s murder

By Dean Wright -

GALLIPOLIS — In the Gallia Court of Common Pleas, Friday, Tyrone Powell III, 16, pleaded guilty to the murder of his father, Tyrone Powell Jr., of Gallipolis.

After being asked if he was willfully and knowledgeably pleading guilty to the crime and asked what exactly was the action committed to warrant the charge levied against him, Tyrone Powell III said that he “shot and killed” his father. Utterances of grief were followed by the statement from individuals assembled in the courtroom.

The charge of murder in Ohio is considered an unclassified felony.

According to discussions held with Gallia Prosecutor Jason Holdren’s Office, on April 15, the Gallipolis Police Department, and later the Ohio Bureau of Investigation, responded to a call on the 700-block of Third Avenue in Gallipolis around 8 a.m. Tyrone Powell Jr. was found with a gunshot wound in the back of his head. Ballistic tests would later match the bullet to a 9-millimeter handgun that was found hidden behind a dresser upstairs in the residence. Reportedly, law enforcement believes based on its investigations that the shot was made from an angle pointing downward.

Holdren said that over the course of the investigation, the defendant’s telling of events around his father’s death changed before he eventually said that he had pulled the trigger of the pistol. The son said the shot was accidental at one point.

Powell III’s DNA was found on the murder weapon, according to the prosecutor’s office.

Holdren said that investigation of the defendant’s phone revealed that internet searches were performed on the device roughly a week prior to the death of the victim and close to the day of the death. Terms discovered reportedly indicated searches for information surrounding guns and whether a 9-millimeter handgun could kill.

“Over the course of the investigation, Mr. Powell has not indicated why he shot his father,” said Holdren. “We hope that his family can find a resolution someday in whatever conversations they may have with him.”

Powell III is anticipated to be sentenced on January 10, 2020 at 8:30 a.m. and faces a minimum of 15 years of prison, potentially to be in prison the rest of his life should a parole board choose.

The defendant was previously bound over from juvenile court after the prosecutor’s office decided to try him as an adult. Powell III was considered 15 years-old during the time of the incident.

Holdren thanked Ohio BCI and the Gallipolis Police Department for its investigative efforts.

Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342.

By Dean Wright