Case of body found in freezer goes to trial

Gun fired accidentally, defendant's lawyer says

woman killed last year

November 17, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

Deborah L. Blunt had been missing for more than a year when police got a tip in May to look for her body in the basement freezer of a Woodlawn home.

Yesterday, Blunt's former boyfriend, truck driver Corbett A. Powell, 42, went on trial in Baltimore County, charged with murder after police found the woman's well-preserved body in his freezer with a gunshot to the head.

"It was the most disturbing of sights," Assistant State's Attorney Marc Zayon told a Baltimore County Circuit Court jury in his opening statement yesterday.

He described how on May 19, Powell's son was looking for food in the chest freezer in the basement and found Blunt's well-preserved, intact body wrapped in a box. After the son said he saw a human toe, he called his girlfriend, who told her mother, who called the police.

Powell had told Blunt's relatives and the police that he didn't know where the 34-year-old 7-Eleven clerk was, Zayon told the jury in the courtroom of Circuit Judge Lawrence R. Daniels.

The prosecutor also said that on the night of the killing, May 9, 1998, Powell's son heard an argument between his father and Blunt, a gunshot and the sound of scrubbing at their home on the 7100 block of Bexhill Road.

Powell's lawyer, Stephen L. Miles, told the jury that Blunt, who had been drinking and taking drugs at the time, died as a result of a scuffle with Powell.

But he said the gun went off by accident, and that Powell was "frightened to death" to call police because of a previous altercation with Blunt, in which Powell was jailed on assault charges after Blunt allegedly struck him with a frying pan.

"So, what happens now?" Miles asked, in describing his client's reluctance to call police. "He goes again, for a lot longer."

Blunt's sister, Nefertiri Sharp, testified that she began calling Powell's home, where Blunt had lived intermittently, after she failed to show up for an annual Mother's Day visit to their mother's grave.

During one visit to Powell's home with police, Sharp said Powell told her, " `We need to find Debbie.' He said he didn't know where she is."

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