A 31-year-old man in Georgia will spend the remainder of his days behind bars for killing the mother of his infant daughter, fatally stabbing the victim 14 times in front of five young children and claiming her wounds were self-inflicted.
Superior Court Judge Layla H. Zon on Friday ordered Gregory Deonte Norwood to serve a sentence of life in a state correctional facility without the chance of parole plus an additional 100 years for the brutal 2022 slaying of Crystal Powell, authorities announced.
According to a news release from the Walton County District Attorney’s Office, it took a jury less than one hour of deliberating to find Norwood guilty on two counts of felony murder, one count each of malice murder, aggravated assault, and family violence battery, as well as five counts of first-degree cruelty to children.
Powell was a teacher in the Newton County school system, her obituary stated.
Authorities said that on the evening of April 16, 2022, Norwood went to Powell’s home in Monroe, Georgia, which is about 44 miles east of Atlanta. At Powell’s home that evening were her four children, one of whom was an infant that she shared with Norwood, and two very young cousins. Aside from the infant, the children ranged in age from 3 to 11 years old.
After Norwood arrived at the home, he and Powell got into an argument that ended with him stabbing Powell 14 times, just outside of her own front door. Prosecutors said that the five children “witnessed the murder and saw Crystal’s body in front of the house.”
The 11-year-old called 911 after Norwood fled the scene with his infant daughter.
Officers from the City of Monroe Police Department responded to the residence and led the investigation into finding Norwood. Investigators located him a short while later in Newton County and took him into custody.
“He had blood on his shoes which later was shown to be a DNA match for the victim,” prosecutors said of Norwood in the release.
In an interview with police, Norwood said that Crystal had somehow managed to stab herself 14 times, according to prosecutors.
“At trial, the State presented evidence of prior domestic violence by the defendant against the victim,” prosecutors said. “The Medical Examiner who performed the autopsy testified that the death was caused by the stab wounds and that the injuries were not consistent with being self inflicted. The five children also bravely testified.”
Norwood testified in his own defense, sticking with the story that he saw Powell repeatedly stab herself.
“The Defendant attempted to blame the death on Crystal, claiming she stabbed herself 14 times,” the release states. “The jury clearly did not buy the Defendant’s self serving version of the events that did not match any of the evidence presented.”
Prior to Norwood being formally sentenced to life, several of Powell’s family members read victim impact statements, including several of the children, speaking about how her murder affected them.
“While this verdict cannot bring Crystal back, I hope it brings some level of closure and a sense of justice to her family and friends,” District Attorney Randy McGinley said in a statement. “I want to thank all those that came to court in support of Crystal and her family, as well as all those supporting them that couldn’t come. This verdict, after such a heart wrenching trial, is a result of so much hard work by so many.”
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