Carroll Twp. man faces trial in wife’s murder

April 10, 2013
Ronald George Powell is escorted by Washington County sheriff’s deputies to a preliminary hearing Wednesday in the Washington County Courthouse on charges of killing his wife in their Carroll Township home. - Jim McNutt / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

A Carroll Township man told state police that after he shot his wife with a shotgun, he took a shower and made coffee before calling 911 to report the shooting in the early morning hours of March 29.

Ronald George Powell, 70, of 1566 Walters St., was ordered held for court Wednesday on a charge of criminal homicide by District Judge Valarie Costanzo following a hearing in Central Court.

Washington County Coroner Tim Warco said 62-year-old Leslie Powell died of a single shotgun blast to the head. He told Glenn Alterio, the public defender representing her husband, her death would have been instantaneous. The 70-year-old suspect sat next to Alterio, showing no signs of emotion during testimony.

Trooper Joseph Timms, who filed the charges, said he interviewed Powell later that morning at the state police barracks in Belle Vernon.

“He said he got out of bed about 3 a.m. and retrieved the shotgun from under the bed. He always kept it loaded,” Timms said. “He used a light he had around his neck and turned it on.

“She was sleeping on her side. He said he pulled the shotgun up and shot her. He then said he took a shower, made coffee and called 911 and told them he shot his wife.”

Under cross-examination by Alterio, Timms said Powell was not specific regarding why he shot his wife.

“He said when he woke up he was stressed out and just had surgery that morning,” Timms said. “He also said he thought his wife was cheating on him.”

Timms said another investigator talked with a representative at Washington Hospital and learned that the surgery Powell had undergone was elective.

Monongahela police Officer Pat Conley, who was first to arrive with partner Officer Kevin Harris, said he saw a shotgun and what appeared to be a flashlight on the bed.

Washington County District Attorney Gene Vittone, who is prosecuting the case, said the couple had been married for about 20 years. He said investigators are looking into whether they had issues in the past.

Powell was returned to the Washington County jail, where he has been held without bond since his arrest.

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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