Woodlawn man gets life sentence for killing woman, hiding corpse

Putting body in freezer provokes judge's wrath

November 25, 1999|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County judge sentenced a Woodlawn truck driver to life in prison yesterday for killing his former girlfriend, noting that hiding her body in his basement freezer "was equally or more reprehensible than her murder."

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Lawrence R. Daniels told Corbett A. Powell, 42, that dumping Deborah L. Blunt's body in his freezer for a year and 10 days was "ignoring the grief of her family."

Powell's sentence came less than a week after a jury convicted him of first-degree murder for shooting Blunt in the head during an argument May 9, 1998, at his Woodlawn home. Her body was discovered May 19 by Powell's teen-age son.

More than two dozen of Blunt's relatives attended yesterday's sentencing, wearing T-shirts and buttons bearing a photograph of the 34-year-old mother of three, who worked as a 7-Eleven clerk and fought drug addiction.

Powell maintained Blunt's death was an accident, though his lawyer, Stephen L. Miles, acknowledged that a comment Powell made to a friend admitting he aimed the gun at Blunt, was "probably more accurate."

During the trial, Powell told the jury that Blunt aimed the gun while they were arguing and that it went off accidentally as he grabbed for it with his eyes closed.

Asking the judge to suspend part of a life sentence, Miles noted that Powell has no criminal record and has worked as a corrections officer and a truck driver.

"I don't think the court would believe for a moment that this was a planned execution," Miles said.

After the sentencing, Blunt's aunt, Helen McCullough, said, "We're glad he's not going to be out there killing someone else's mother, someone else's child, someone else's niece."

Prosecutor Stephen Bailey, who tried the case with Marc Zayon, said that Powell's testimony during the trial showed an "emptiness in character" because of his "lack of remorse" over Blunt's death.

Pub Date: 11/25/99

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