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Del. Jurors Recommend Death In Police Killing

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Derrick Powell

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GEORGETOWN, Del. (AP) — A jury that convicted a Maryland man of murder in the shooting of a Georgetown police officer recommended Wednesday that he be sentenced to death.

The Sussex County jury deliberated for about 2 1/2 hours before recommending 7-5 that Derrick Powell, 24, of Cumberland, Md., be executed for the 2009 shooting of patrolman Chad Spicer.

Spicer was shot as he sat in a police cruiser following the pursuit of a car carrying Powell and two other men. The pursuit began after Powell shot at a drug dealer he was trying to rob in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.

Defense attorneys argued that Powell should be spared the death penalty because he is brain-damaged and the victim of chronic child abuse.

Spicer’s parents, Ruth Ann and Norman Spicer, smiled as they hugged prosecutors and courtroom personnel after the verdict. “We’re very, very happy,” Ruth Ann Spicer said. “We’re very satisfied with the decision.”

Prosecutors declined to comment. Defense attorney Stephanie Tsantes appeared to be encouraged by the narrow split in the jury’s vote.

“We’re hopeful that with the recommendation being just 7 to 5, that there’s still hope that the judge will ultimately sentence him to life,” she said.

A single bullet struck Spicer in the face as he sat in the passenger seat of a police cruiser following the pursuit of a car carrying Powell and two other men. The pursuit began after Powell shot at a drug dealer he was trying to rob in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant.

A judge is scheduled to sentence Powell on May 20.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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