Texas Execution Information Center

Execution Report: James Powell

James Powell
James Powell
Executed on 2 October 2002

James Rexford Powell, 56, was executed by lethal injection on 1 October 2002 in Huntsville, Texas for the abduction, rape, and murder of a ten-year-old girl.

On 6 October 1990, Powell, then 44, drove his motor home to the Beaumont flea market where he sometimes sold items. Also selling their wares that Saturday morning were Joe and Elaine Langley, who also brought Elaine's daughter, Falyssa Van Winkle, 10. At about 10 a.m., Falyssa told her parents she was going to buy a bag of peanuts. Sometime shortly thereafter, Powell abducted her and put her in his motor home, binding her wrists and ankles with rope and possibly knocking her unconscious. He walked over to the Langleys and said goodbye to them, then drove away. He then drove out of town, raped Falyssa, and strangled her with the rope. He then dumped her body under a bridge near the Texas-Louisiana state line.

Falyssa's body was discovered at about 3 p.m. Witnesses reported seeing Powell's distinctive motor home near the site where the body was discovered. Joe Langley remembered seeing Powell talking to his stepdaughter that morning. Another vendor remembered seeing Powell's motor home leaving the flea market between 10 and 10:30 a.m.

The next day, a neighbor of Powell's observed him washing his motor home inside, outside, and underneath. Nevertheless, sheriff's deputies found six "forcibly removed" hairs in the motor home that matched the hair on Falyssa's head. DNA testing showed that the sperm found in Falyssa's body matched Powell.

Powell had no prior criminal record. He had previously been tried in Louisiana for attempted murder, but he was acquitted.

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