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David Lee POWELL




The big story on the front page of the the Austin American-Statesman on May 19, 1978,
was the shooting of police officer Ralph Ablanedo by David Lee Powell.



Fellow police officers and others attend to Ralph Ablanedo after he was shot by David Lee Powell on May 18, 1978.
Ablanedo's friend and partner, Bruce Mills, is turned toward the photographer. Ablanedo died on a hospital
operating room table. He was 26. After a gunbattle, Powell was captured at Travis High School.

(Ed Malcik 1978 / American-Statesman)



David Lee Powell is brought into the Police Department by officers Al Hernandez, left, and Sam Cox. Powell
was armed with an AK-47, a .45-caliber pistol and a hand grenade when he opened fire on officer Ralph
Ablanedo near Live Oak Street and Travis Heights Boulevard about 12:30 a.m. May 18, 1978.
(Americand-Statesman File Photo)



David Lee Powell had been voted most likely to succeed at Campbell High School, northeast of Dallas,
and was valedictorian of his 15-member graduating class even after skipping his junior year.
(Kit Brooking 1978 / American-Statesman)



David Lee Powell had $487.37 when he was booking into jail.
(Kit Brooking 1978 / American-Statesman)



Austin police officers show up in force for officer Ralph Ablanedo's funeral on May 20, 1978.
(Larry Murphy 1978 / American-Statesman)



Judy Ablanedo, in black dress with her head down, is flanked by her parents at her husband's funeral on
May 20, 1978. Behind her is Betsy Ablanedo, Ralph Ablanedo's mother. His death led to an outpouring
of community support, and police officers from around the state attended the funeral.
(Americand-Statesman File Photo)



Travis County Deputy Robert Brice, left, and Sheriff Raymond Frank lead Davide Lee Powell
from he courtroom to the jail elevator on Sept. 27, 1978.
(Ed Malcik 1978 / American-Statesman)



Travis County Sheriff Raymond Frank escorts David Lee Powell from the county
courthouse as they leave Austin for Huntsville.
(Americand-Statesman File Photo)



David Lee Powell is escorted from a Travis County coutroom on Oct. 31, 1991, during his first retrial.
(David Kennedy 1991 / American-Statesman)



In 1999, David Lee Powell sought a third trial after twice receiving a death sentence in the murder of
Austin police officer Ralph Ablanedo. On Jan. 8, 1999, he leaves a pretrial hearing with an attorney.
(Tom Lankes 1999 / American-Statesman)



David Lee Powell



Of the 322 inmates on death row, only five have been there longer than David Lee Powell.
(Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman)



Speaking from prison glass last month, David Lee Powell spoke of redemption. "Thirty-two years ago,
I was responsible for an enormously evil act. ... And no apology I could give would
 be powerful enough to express my regret for that."
(Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman)



"I hope I'm a better person now than I was then. But the truth is, most of my life I was a better person
than what you know of me. Time has allowed my true character to re-emerge and show itself," he said.
(Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman)



Judy Mills, former wife of officer Ralph Ablanedo, and Ablanedo's former partner, Bruce Mills,
married in 1980. They hold a photo of him near their Marble Falls home.
(Rodolfo Gonzalez / American-Statesman)



Police officer Ralph Ablanedo 'was absolutely the model that you would want a police officer to be,'
said former Austin police Sgt. Sam Cox, who was his supervisor. 'He had an even temperament,
a great family, a supportive wife and a bright future, and he loved what he was doing.
He was just a good, decent human being.'
(Ricardo B. Brazziell / American-Statesman)



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