The Murder of Stacie Reed

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Stacie Reed

Kristie Reed & her mom, Lorraine

Paul Powell

On the afternoon of January 29, 1999, 16-year-old Stacie Reed came home from school & found 20-year-old Paul Warner Powell waiting at her home in Manassas City, Virginia where she lived with her parents & her younger sister, 14-year-old Kristie. Stacie arrived home early that day, just before noon, after testing. 

Paul & Stacie had known each other for about two and a half years at the time; they were friends, but Paul wanted more from their friendship. Stacie was dating Sean Wilkerson, though this wasn’t deterring the advances Paul made toward Stacie on several occasions. More disturbing, Paul was a self-proclaimed white supremacist & Sean Wilkerson happened to be a black man. 

Paul had been to Stacie’s house in the past so she wasn’t alarmed when he waited for her after school. Though, she didn’t realize that on this day, he didn’t plan on taking no for an answer. He ended up leaving when he found that Robert Culver, Stacie’s mom’s fiance, was coming over for lunch. He came back to the Reed home at 12:45pm, this time with two knives, a box cutter & a 9mm handgun. Stacie was finishing up a phone call with Sean when Paul knocked on the door. 

When Stacie opened the door, Paul demanded that she break up with Sean. According to Paul, the two argued until the situation escalated into a struggle. He took the survival knife out from his belt & claimed that Stacie got “stuck” with the knife, denying that he purposely stabbed her. They continued to struggle until Stacie collapsed on her sister’s bedroom floor. He said the struggle began after Stacie attacked him & scratched his face.

Paul said that at this point, he didn’t know if Stacie was alive or dead, but either way, he didn’t check or call for any medical assistance. He wandered around the house, poured himself iced tea & smoked a cigarette. Kristie arrived home from school a little after 3pm & was met at the door by Paul. 

Paul told Kristie that Stacie was in her room, but only seconds later, she discovered her sister’s lifeless body in her own bedroom. She dropped her school books & began to sob. Paul ordered Kristie to go to the basement. She knew he was typically armed & followed his instructions because she didn’t want to die. When she got to the basement, Paul ordered Kristie to remove her clothes & lay on the floor. He raped her as she begged him not to kill her. Powell later admitted that he knew that 14-year-old Kristie was a virgin when he raped her. 

While Paul & Kristie were in the basement, a friend of Kristie’s, Mark Lewis came to the house & knocked on the door. When Paul heard the knock, he cut Kristie’s shoe laces & tied her legs together & her hands behind her back, got dressed & went upstairs. While Paul was upstairs, Kristie was able to loosen her restraints & scoot across the floor in an attempt to hide under the basement stairs. 

As Kristie heard Paul descending the basement steps, she decided to return to the spot where he had left her. Powell strangled Kristie until she lost consciousness & then stabbed her in the abdomen & slit her throat. He headed back upstairs, helped himself to more iced tea & searched the house “for anything worth taking.”  He left the house & headed to a friend’s house in the District of Columbia to buy crack cocaine. 

Sometime after Paul left, Kristie regained consciousness & at approximately 4:10pm, she heard her mom’s fiance, Robert Culver, return home & she began to call out his name. Culver wasn’t able to hear Kristie, but because he couldn’t find either girl, he began to look around the house. He noticed that Stacie’s room was in disarray; when he entered Kristie’s room, he found Stacie’s body & noted she wasn’t breathing & had blood on her body. 

Culver went to the basement in search of a phone & discovered Kristie, bound & naked on the floor, bleeding from her neck & stomach. He immediately called 911 & began giving her first aid. He then found Stacie’s body upstairs & paramedics arrived shortly after. 

As paramedics arrived & asked her who was responsible for her injuries, she mouthed the words, “Paul Powell.” Paul was found & arrested the next day, January 30th, at his girlfriend’s house, where he & his friend went after buying drugs.  Police found a blue bag that belonged to Powell, containing a 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a full magazine containing 10 Winchester 9mm cartridges. It also held a survival knife with a 5.5 inch blade in a black sheath; the blade with a dark-reddish stain & a butterfly knife with a 5 inch blade. 

Kristie was airlifted to Inova Fairfax Hospital; her survival was miraculous as the injuries to her stomach & neck were each only one centimeter from puncturing major arteries. Stacie, on the other hand, sadly, didn’t survive. Her autopsy revealed that she died from stab wounds to her heart. The medical examiner testified that there was a single entrance wound & two exit wounds, indicating that the knife had been withdrawn, at least partially, & then reinserted into her heart.  One stab wound pierced the left ventricle & the other went through both the left & right ventricles, exiting the heart at the back of the right ventricle.

Stacie’s body also had bruises on her head, chest, abdomen, back, arms & legs; there were abrasions on her face, a stab wound to her back & cuts & scrapes on her left arm. The autopsy also showed that she had been struck on the head with force that caused bleeding inside her scalp & the membranes around her brain prior to death. These injuries were not consistent with Paul’s claims that a struggle resulted in Stacie getting accidentally “stuck” with the knife.

DNA from the blood found on Powell’s knife was consistent with Stacie’s DNA. The DNA obtained from Kristie’s vagina & perianal area was consistent with Paul’s DNA. 

During his time in jail, Paul wrote various letters to friends, admitting to murdering Stacie, as well as Kristie’s rape & attempted murder.  He claimed he wanted to “kill everybody in this fucked up country that is not white.” Paul said that on the day of Stacie’s murder, he went with the intention of killing her whole family & then stealing their truck. 

Powell wrote to a female friend & asked her to “get one of her guy friends to go to a payphone, call Kristie & tell her that she better tell the cops she lied to them & tell her that she better not testify against me or she’s gonna die.” Paul told another inmate that he got very angry with Stacie when she refused to have sex with him after she ended her phone call with Wilkerson. He told the inmate that he stabbed Stacie twice & that when he tried to cut Kristie’s throat, his knife was too dull, so he just started to stomp on her neck & throat. 

He told another inmate that Stacie’s murder was a “human sacrifice” & also expressed satisfaction for having raped a virgin.  When Powell spoke to police, he denied raping Kristie though in a second statement, he admitted that he did. He also said that he tried to kill her “because she was the only witness & he would have to go to jail.” 

In May of 2000, Kristie faced her monster, testifying against Paul. He was convicted of capital murder & sentenced to death. He was also found guilty of the abduction, rape & attempted capital murder of Kristie & sentenced to three terms of life in prison. 

Paul ended up filing an appeal because he felt that the prosecution failed to prove that he attempted to also rape Stacie & a year later, on April 20, 2001, his capital murder conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Virginia & he was instead given three life sentences for lesser charges, making him ineligible for the death penalty. The results of the appeal were based on two factors: The form the jury read about the verdict & sentencing failed to clearly state that the jury had the option of sentencing him to life imprisonment rather than the death penalty & when the timing of the events given in Powell’s testimony were reviewed, it showed that the sequence of events didn’t happen in the correct order to charge Paul with capital murder. It was also ruled that the murder of one girl & the rape of another couldn’t be considered the same crime which a factor that was necessary 

Paul decided to write a letter to the prosecutors, believing that he could no longer be tried for capital murder because of double jeopardy.  The letter was written to attorney, Paul Ebert on October 21, 2001 & read:

“Mr. Ebert,

“Since I have already been indicted on first degree murder and the Va. Supreme Court said that I can’t be charged with capital murder again, I figured I would tell you the rest of what happened on Jan. 29, 1999, to show you how stupid all of y’all mother fuckers are.

“Y’all should have known that there is more to the story than what I told by what I said. You had it in writing that I planned to kill the whole family. Since I planned to kill the whole family, why would I have fought with Stacie before killing her? She had no idea I was planning to kill everybody and talked and carried on like usual, so I could’ve stabbed her up at any time because she was unsuspecting.

“I had other plans for her before she died. You know I came back to the house after Bobby’s lunch break was over and he had went back to work. When I got back, she was on the phone so I went inside and I laid down on the couch. When the cab came to bring me my pager, I ran out of the house and she jumped and got off the phone and came off the porch to see why I ran out of the house like I did.

“When the cab left we went in the house. I laid on the couch again and she went to her room and got her clothes and went downstairs to do her laundry. When she went downstairs, I got up and shut and locked the back door and went downstairs. We talked while she put her clothes in the wash. We continued talking when she had everything in the wash and I reached over and touched her tit and asked if she wanted to fuck. She said no, because she had a boyfriend.

“I started arguing with her because she had never turned anybody down because of having a boyfriend.

“We started walking upstairs, arguing the whole time. When we got upstairs we went to her room and she turned the radio off. After she turned the radio off I pushed her onto her bed and grabbed her wrists and pinned her hands down by her head and sat on top of her. I told her that all I wanted to do was fuck her and then I would leave and that we could do it the easy way or the hard way.

“She said she would fuck me so I got up. After I got up, she got up and started fighting with me and clawed me face. We wrestled around a little and then I slammed her to the floor. When she hit the floor I sat on top of her and pinned her hands down again. She said she would fuck me and I told her that if she tried fighting with me again, I would kill her.

“When I got up she stood up and kept asking me why I was doing this and all I kept saying is take your clothes off. Finally she undid her pants and pulled them down to her ankles. She was getting ready to take them the rest of the way off and the phone rang. When she heard the phone she pulled her pants back up and said she had to answer the phone. I pushed her back and said no. She said that she wouldn’t say anything about me being there and I told her no and to take her clothes off.

“She tried to get out of the room again and I pushed her back and pulled out my knife. I guess she thought I was just trying to scare her and that I wouldn’t really stab her because she tried to leave again.

“When she got to me and tried to squeeze between me and the door jam I stabbed her. When I stabbed her, she fell back against the door jam and just looked at me with a shocked look on her face.

“When I pulled the knife out she stumbled a couple steps and fell in her sister’s room. I walked over and looked at her. I saw that she was still breathing so I stepped over her body and into the bedroom. Then I put my foot on her throat and stepped up so she couldn’t breath. Then I stepped down and started stomping on her throat. Then I stepped back onto her throat and moved up and down putting more pressure to make it harder to breathe.

“When I didn’t see her breathing anymore, I left the room and got some iced tea and sat on the couch and smoked a cigarette. You know the rest of what happened after that point.

“I would like to thank you for saving my life. I know you’re probably wondering how you saved my life, so I’ll tell you.

“You saved my life by fucking up. There were 2 main fuck-ups you made that saved me. The first was the way you worded my capital murder indictment. The second was the comment you made in your closing argument when you said we won’t know because he won’t tell us.

“One more time, thank you! Now y’all know everything that happened in that house at 8023 McLean St. on Jan. 29, 1999.

“I guess I forgot to mention these events when I was being questioned. Ha Ha! Sike!

“I knew what y’all would be able to prove in court, so I told you what you already knew. Stacey was dead and no one else was in the house so I knew ya’ll would never know everything she went through unless she came back to life.

“Since the Supreme Court said I can’t be charged with capital murder again, I can tell you what I just told you because I no longer have to worry about the death penalty. And y’all are supposed to be so goddamn smart. I can’t believe that y’all thought I told you everything.

“Well, it’s too late now. Nothing you can do about it now so fuck you you fat, cocksucking, cumguzzling, gutter slut. I guess I’ll see your bitch ass on Dec. 18 at trial because I’m not pleading to shit. Tell the family to be ready to testify and relive it all again because if I have to suffer for the next 50 or 60 years or however long then they can suffer the torment of reliving what happened for a couple of days.

“I’m gone. Fuck you and anyone like you or that associates with people like you. I almost forgot, fuck your god, too. Jesus knows how to suck a dick real good. Did you teach him?

“Well, die a slow, painful, miserable death. See ya punk.

“Do you just hate yourself for being so stupid and for fuckin’ up and saving me?


“Paul Powell.”

He then sent a letter to Lorraine, Stacie & Kristie’s mom; he attached a pornographic photo of a woman who resembled Stacie & wrote, “I was wondering if you might be able to help me think of something. I found this picture in a magazine & it kinda looks like someone I know or used to know, but I can’t think of the person’s name. I think you know the person too, so I was wondering if you could tell me the name of the person this picture resembles so I can quit wracking my brain trying to think of it? If you talk to the person I’m talking about, please give her my address & tell her to write to me. Thank you!” Forensic scientists verified that the handwriting belonged to 24-year-old Paul. 

The various letters he wrote shifted from polite to cruel to obscene. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, James A Willett, who prosecuted Powell in 2000 & prepared to prosecute him in October of 2002, described him as “an individual who must inflict pain on people. These letters are the only way that he can do it from where he is right now.” 

Paul wrote many letters to jury forewoman, Jennifer Day; their letters spanned nearly a year. They spoke of being soulmates & he also wrote that he never thought he could rape or kill someone. “I hate myself for it & wish there was something I could do to change it.”  In the same letter, he also said he was going to fight against the death penalty. Jennifer Day claimed that at first, she thought Powell was sorry though then felt that he has a split personality. “I don’t know who is the real person, the murderer or the God worshipper. I thought he was a poor kid who was just  all messed up, but I don’t think that anymore. What he has done to that family is just awful.” 

Because of the letters that Paul wrote the prosecution, admitting to withholding testimony, they were able to re-indict him on capital murder charges in January of 2003. Once again, he was sentenced to death. 31-year-old Powell chose the electric chair instead of lethal injection & was executed on Thursday night, March 18, 2010 & was declared dead at 9:09pm. Despite all of his words written, Paul was silent as the guards  strapped him into the oak electric chair at the Greensville Correctional center; he only stared ahead when asked if he wanted to say anything. Though he did speak with Stacie’s family on the phone the day before his execution, apologizing & acknowledging it “was a senseless & pointless thing.” The Reed family was present during the execution. Paul ended up being the second to the last person to die in Virginia’s electric chair. Lethal injection became the only form of capital punishment until the death penalty was abolished in Virginia on March 24, 2021.

Kristie had eagerly awaited Paul’s death, saying, “I need to know that he’s gone, that we don’t have to deal with this anymore.” Kristie was 25 at the time of Paul’s execution, she said, “I was totally against the death penalty before this happened & I didn’t know why people would want to do it. But those people haven’t been through what we’ve been through. Now I’m totally for it. He definitely deserves to die. He needs to die for what he did for Stacie.” 

In 2001, Lorraine started the S.T.A.C.I.E. Foundation which stands for “Strive To Achieve Compassion, Intervention and Education.” The organization supports victims of violent crimes. In 2018, she published a book called Heal My Wounds, Leave My Scars: A Mother’s Story of Loss, Despair, and Her  Journey Back to Hope.

Stacie was part of her high school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps & hoped to one day become the first female US Navy Seal. She had been looking forward to going to her first military ball with Sean. She was extremely close with her sister, Kristie whose strength brought Paul to justice. To this day, Kristie considers the markings on her neck as battle scars; they remind her that she is capable of surviving anything & everything.


  1. Washington Post: Inmate’s Letter Boasting of Crime Published
  2. Wikipedia: Paul Warner Powell
  3. The Wicked Truth: Self-Proclaimed White  Supremacist Murders Teen, Leaves Sister for Dead
  4. Washington Post: Virginia executes man in 1999 murder of woman, rape of her sister
  5. Your Dictionary: Last Words of Paul Warner Powell
  6. I’m Surrounded By Idiots: Paul Warner Powell

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