Killeen Man Featured in Netflix Documentary Released from Prison
A Killeen man who served 11 years of a 28 year prison sentence in Gatesville has been ordered transferred back to the Bell County Jail, where he's expected to make bail and be released ahead of a retrial.
Back in June, George Powell III was featured in a Netflix crime documentary series titled Exhibit A. The show focuses on cases in which faulty forensic evidence is believed to have been used to convict innocent people. Powell was convicted of robbing a 7-Eleven in Killeen in 2008, and has maintained his innocence since then. He and his attorney have argued that the science used to put him away was unsound, but it wasn't the science that ultimately led to this week's decision.
Our partners at News 10 reported that a judge ruled in favor of a retrial for Powell back in January after a former cellmate who testified against him recanted his testimony that Powell confessed to the crime while in lockup.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the prosecution failed to tell Powell's defense team that the cellmate was offered a reduced sentence in exchange for his testimony. Recently, the Court of Criminal Appeals determined that Powell could be transferred from Gatesville's Albert Hughes Unit back to the Bell County Jail, where Powell's attorney expect him to be able to bond out and prepare for retrial on the outside.
(Per our earlier article about Powell's case...)
Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza is limited in how much he can say about an active case, but told News 10 that the evidence used to convict Powell is sound. He said he has no recollection of anyone from Netflix reaching out to him for information or comment.
While true crime shows have always been popular, Netflix scored a massive hit with docuseries Making a Murderer in 2015, which examined the case of Steven Avery in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin.
It's ultimately up to courts and juries to decide, and documentaries will always have a bias no matter far out of their way they go to avoid one. Still, it's been interesting to see pushes for justice system reform ramp up in recent years and filmmakers working to bring to light major flaws in the system.