U.S. Supreme Court won’t hear appeal of Miss. death row inmate

Published 4:56 pm Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal from death row inmate Stephen Elliot Powers, who was convicted in 2000 of killing a University of Southern Mississippi student.

Last October, the Mississippi Supreme Court rejected a post conviction petition from Powers, who had argued that he deserved a new trial because his attorney should have done a better job.

The nation’s high court on Monday denied without comment Powers’ request to hear his case. It was the second time the Supreme Court had ruled against Powers. In 2005, the Supreme Court declined to hear Powers’ appeal of his capital murder conviction.

Powers was convicted in Forrest County of murdering 27-year-old Beth Lafferty, who was shot five times during an attack at her home. The Mississippi court upheld Powers’ capital murder conviction and death sentence in 2003.

According to the court record, Powers confessed in a written statement that he and Lafferty struggled with a gun and that he shot Lafferty, but he specifically denied having sex with the woman.

The Mississippi court ruled the physical evidence clearly revealed that there was an attempt to rape the woman.