KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) A state district judge Tuesday set bond at $500,000 for George Powell III, 46, whose aggravated robbery conviction was overturned earlier this summer, but Powell’s attorney says the amount is too high.
“Imagine spending more than a decade of your life wrongfully convicted in prison, a state court ruling in your favor that you should be released, having no money because you’ve been in prison for so long, and having bail set in an amount you cannot possibly make,” said Mike Ware, the executive director of the Innocence Project of Texas who serves as Powell’s lead counsel
A bond reduction hearing is scheduled next Wednesday.
“The law says that George is entitled to bail, but for George, requiring half a million dollars in bail is no different than denying him bail completely. He does not have any money. And he’s hardly a flight risk. He has family in the area, he is from here, and is ready to get his life back together,” Ware said.
Powell was transferred Monday from a state prison unit in Gatesville to the Bell County Jail after the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his motion for a rehearing on an innocence claim last Wednesday.
Powell was sentenced to 28 years in prison in 2009 for an armed holdup in June 2008 at a 7-Eleven store in Killeen, a robbery he insists he did not commit.
He was booked into the Bell County Jail just after 10 a.m. Monday.
In overturning the conviction in June, the Court of Criminal Appeals ruled that prosecutors failed to disclose to Powell’s attorney that a jailhouse informant who testified against Powell had been told his testimony “would be taken into consideration in disposition on his own pending charges.”
The court ruled that the informant’s statement during the trial that he hadn’t made a deal in exchange for his testimony that Powell had confessed to the robbery was false and that “the state failed to correct such testimony.”
The former cellmate recanted his testimony in 2016.
Powell, who’s 6-foot 3, and his supporters argue that the person who actually robbed the store was around 5-foot-7 and in 2016 the Texas Forensic Science Commission took a look at the case and found faults with the state expert’s opinion, specifically on the height of the man shown in a store surveillance video of the holdup.