WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. – A White Plains man who had previously served time for second-degree murder was sentenced Thursday afternoon in Westchester County court to life in prison without parole on the charge of first-degree murder for the killing of Jennifer Katz of Mamaroneck.
Reginald Powell, 56, was sentenced to an additional 41 to 55 years to be served consecutively on seven other counts in relation to the death of Katz, whose body was found Dec. 30, 2010, tied up in her bedroom closet with a stab wound to the neck.
Earlier that day, Powell was stopped by the New York Police Department in Harlem while driving the victim’s SUV for making an illegal turn. He did not have a license. He got out of the car and ran, but police caught and arrested him, according to the District Attorney’s office. At the precinct, he referenced a body in a home in Mamaroneck Village. Katz was found a short time later.
The defendant denied he killed the mother of two or ran after he was stopped. He did admit to six of the charges, excluding murder and the burglary of her car and jewelry.
"I didn't kill Ms. Katz," Powell said in court Thursday. "I didn't stab Ms. Katz. I didn't kill Ms. Katz."
He was indicted June 16, 2011, and convicted Dec. 19, 2012, after a two-month and two-day jury trial that Judge Lester Adler described Thursday as “gut-wrenching.” Adler later said Powell would never again see the light of day if he had anything to do with it during the nearly three-hour sentencing Thursday in county court.
Before Adler read the sentence Thursday, the defendant, who never looked back at the victim’s family or his own sitting in the courtroom, asked, “Why would I kill someone who was helping me?” Adler replied, “Reginald Powell is a murderer. It is in his nature.”
Like Katz’s two brothers, John and Dale Malik, who were present and gave tearful statements Thursday, Powell called Katz a warm person who helped him in many ways after he was released from jail in 2008 after serving 22 years. He was previously convicted in 1984 on the charge of second-degree murder for shooting a cab driver in the head with shotgun while in New Rochelle.
Thursday, Powell and his lawyer sought an adjournment to have time to file a pre-sentence motion with the appellate court in which he was tried for the 1984 conviction, claiming that he was tried unconstitutionally. Adler denied the request.
In addition to first-degree murder and second-degree burglary, both felonies, Powell was charged with two counts of third-degree grand larceny, two counts of third-degree possession of stolen property, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all felonies; and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor