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Man acquitted in slayings faces escape charges after removing monitoring device

| Tuesday, June 4, 2002

A Connellsville Township man who was acquitted in March of killing a Broadford-area couple was arrested recently on a charge of escape.

Gerald Eugene Powell, 36, of 310 Texas Ave., was caught outside a Vanderbilt-area home after a brief foot chase, according to state police. Powell was on house arrest and was under court order to wear an electronic monitoring bracelet because of a probation violation but had cut off the bracelet, according to police.

"Recently enacted law provides for a charge of escape when a monitoring bracelet is removed," said Connellsville District Justice Ronald Haggerty. "I set a $5,000 cash bond on him, which he was unable to make. But he would have been returned to jail anyway because of the detainer in Westmoreland County."

Powell is in Westmoreland County Prison with a pending detainer in Fayette County.

While investigating a robbery, state police learned that Powell had removed the bracelet, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed with Haggerty. A person being interviewed about the robbery told police that Powell might know something about the robbery, and that he had removed the monitoring bracelet.

In March, Powell was tried for the 1995 slaying of Edward and Karen Povlik in their Connellsville Township home. The jury found Powell not guilty. Last July, David J. Robertson Jr. was found guilty on two counts of conspiracy in the Powells' slayings and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The prosecution contended both Powell and Robertson conspired to commit the slayings, but Powell denied knowing Robertson.

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