|This tragic crime resulted from a domestic
incident which got out of hand when the defendant, Joseph Powell, stopped
by to talk with his estranged common-law wife, Patricia Burns, during a
temporary break in their relationship after five years of living together,
and was confronted by the victim, Rodney Macon.
The upstairs apartment in the two-family
house where the incident occurred was in the defendant's name, and he went
in with his own keys. Mr. Macon was in the bedroom with Ms. Burns, and
the defendant told her that he wanted to talk with her, and that he wanted
Macon out of his house. Mr. Macon said, "OK, I'm leaving," as the defendant
saw him standing on the bed with a wine bottle in his hand, as for a weapon
or protection; and the defendant grabbed a knife out of the kitchen for
his own protection, and let him leave the bedroom and apartment.
As the defendant arrived at the top landing, he observed Mr. Macon at the bottom of the stairway by the door. But Macon only pretended that he was leaving, and raced back up the 13-step stairway, hollering that he would kill the defendant, and attacked him with a broomstick. The defendant reactively stabbed him in shock, in an instinctive reaction, not of his own volition.
Macon then backed down the stairs, dripping
blood on the steps and smearing blood on the wall near the 3rd and 4th
steps from the top, and again on the wall near the 4th step from the bottom,
as he bumped into the wall going down the stairway.
Further, Patricia Burns testified very clearly that at the time of the stabbing Mr. Macon was at the bottom of the stairway with his back against the door (T 358, 361), but that the defendant did not go below the 5th step from the bottom (T 350); which implies that the defendant was at least 5 steps up, plus a couple of feet, from Mr. Macon at that time.
One should consider the distance we are
talking about here. The point being, it couldn't have happened that
way. Even with the defendant's arm span, it couldn't have happened
as Ms. Burns described it. [see
Ms. Burns also stated that Macon did not come back up the stairs after supposedly being stabbed at the bottom of the stairway (T 361). Under that theory, there should be no blood smears on the wall, nor blood drops up the steps. And it is physically impossible to stab someone five steps up from them.
Ms. Burns' testimony was a vindictive effort to try to recreate an incident at the bottom of the steps, which didn't happen. And it is incumbent upon the state to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant purposely caused the death of another.
Patricia Burns' handwritten statement was
altered when typed up by Detective Joseph Greene (of Cleveland Heights
Police Department, in case no. CH 86-07842, on October 25, 1986), to add
the comments, "I have something for both of you" and "you will be sorry
if you come out of that room", and that the defendant "rushed into the
bedroom screaming at Macon to get out," while her handwritten statement
states that as soon as the door opened, Macon ran out and down the steps.
Strangely, Shondo Burns heard Macon say that as he was leaving, but did not hear the defendant make those "threatening" comments (T 423-424, 440-442). Further, since Macon was in the bedroom at that time, and the defendant was in the hallway between Patricia's and Shondo's bedrooms, Shondo would have heard any comment made by the defendant since he heard Macon's comment, but he did not. That's because those threatening comments were never made by the defendant.
Ms. Burns told her two best friends, Erie and Rose McDonall (a couple who testified for the defendant, and who Ms. Burns and her two children stayed with for five months since the day of the incident), the defendant's mother and two of his cousins that the defendant acted in self-defense.
The defendant had requested to take a polygraph test, but his attorney said he didn't think that the prosecutor would go for it.
Ms. Burns told the court at the preliminary hearing in Cleveland Heights that the apartment was in the defendant's name; but the grand jury chose to indict him for burglary in spite of that.
And, after all of this injustice, the parole board wants the defendant to do more time, compounding the injustice, by adding 10 years to his sentence. The defendant prays for justice.
I am sorry for what happened, and feel
that I have been unjustly charged and sentenced. But I'm so glad
that God Almighty knows the truth, and one day it will come to the surface.
views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily
those of the IIAO, however, wrongful conviction and
imprisonment are quite obvious.
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