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Man found guilty in Waffle House robbery

June 08, 2007|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - A Martinsburg, W.Va., man was convicted Thursday in Washington County Circuit Court of a Sept. 23, 2006, robbery at the Waffle House restaurant in Williamsport.

Henry Russell Powell, 33, was acquitted of several other charges, including armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. A jury deliberated for about two hours before reaching its verdict.

Powell acted as the getaway driver during the robbery in which witnesses saw a woman with stolen money and a gun get into Powell's truck, Assistant State's Attorney Gina Cirincion said.

Assistant Public Defender Jerome J. Joyce said that much of what witnesses said was true, but that Powell didn't know what his wife was doing. Powell's biggest mistake was staying with his wife even though he knew she was involved in all kinds of trouble, Joyce said.

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Powell testified Thursday that he recently divorced Tonya Powell.

He was victimized by the woman during their marriage with "the kind of stuff you hear on Jerry Springer," Joyce said.

When he took the stand Thursday, Henry Powell testified that he thought Tonya Powell went to Waffle House because she was hungry. She came out hollering and screaming and said, "'Get in the truck, we got to go,'" Henry Powell testified.

Powell didn't want to be part of the robbery and wrecked his truck when he hit a tree while fighting with Tonya Powell as they drove away from the scene, he testified.

Powell said his relationship with Tonya Powell had been difficult, and that she was well-known for stealing.

During a March preliminary hearing in Washington County District Court, witnesses said they remembered Powell as "scruffy looking" and paying for $1.63 worth of gas in change. Powell's lawyer said he had not been trying to hide himself, noting he even paid in coins.

Washington County Circuit Judge M. Kenneth Long ordered a presentence investigation before he sentences Powell for the robbery.

Tonya Powell was being held at Eastern Regional Jail in Martinsburg, W.Va., Cirincion said.

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