NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The case of a man convicted in the 1978
machine-gun killing of an Austin police officer will be appealed to
the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today.
David Lee Powell was convicted of killing Officer Ralph
Ablanedo, who was a six-year veteran of the Austin Police
Department. The 56-year-old Powell was 27 at the time of the crime
and is now the longest-serving resident of Texas' death row.
Travis County jurors convicted Powell and sentenced him to death
months after the killing. The U.S. Supreme Court vacated his
sentence in 1989. In a 1991 retrial, Powell was again sentenced to
death. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals vacated the sentence,
but jurors in 1999 upheld the death penalty decision.