The Logan County courtroom of District Judge Phillip Corley was packed on Tuesday afternoon as the manslaughter case against Paige Powell from 2014 ended.
Judge Corley handed down a 10-year sentence and suspended the sentence after finding Powell guilty of felony manslaughter-first degree, driving while impaired. Powell was the driver in a car in February 2014 when it crashed at Wildcat Curve, north of Guthrie. Maryah Sanchez, a passenger in the car died at the scene from injuries as she was trapped in the car.
Powell pleaded no contest earlier in the hearing to the charges.
The hearing started with Powell entering the no contest plea and answering several questions from Judge Corley before hearing victim impact statements. Kay County District Attorney Brian Hermanson was the prosecutor for the case and had victim impact statements from Dianna Savage (Maryah’s mother) and Makylah Sanchez (Maryah’s sister) read into the record. Hermanson then closed out his arguments with presenting pictures and reports from the accident to Judge Corley for his consideration.
Defense attorney Scott Adams then took the podium and introduced impact statements from Donte’ Foster (Powell’s husband), Nancy Powell (Paige’s mother) and Paige Powell to the court.
Corley then asked for sentencing recommendations from each side. Hermanson asked the judge to sentence Powell to 20-years with the Department of Corrections with 10-years suspended, qualifying that some prison time was appropriate for the charge. Adams then made his argument and asked for five years’ probation for Powell.
Corley then recessed the court to review all the materials turned in by both attorneys before imposing a sentence. Corley returned to the courtroom twenty minutes later and asked for Powell to approach the bench. Corley commented, “This will drive a wedge in the community no matter what I do.” With that being said, Corley announced the 10-year sentence with all time suspended contingent on good behavior, ordered to pay a $500 fine, a victim’s compensation assessment of $250 and prosecution reimbursement fees of $960 plus all other court costs. Powell is to be supervised by the Department of Corrections for two years.
Hermanson talked with the News Leader after the decision saying, “I respect Judge Corley and I respect his decision; I just disagree with it.” Hermanson also disclosed that had the case gone to a jury the minimum sentence would have been four years in prison, no suspended sentence. Adams left the courtroom immediately and made no comment.