View Full Version : Gregory Powell, Parole hearing`Onion Field Killer' After 50 yrs
January 26th, 2010, 04:31 PM
Parole hearing Wednesday for `Onion Field Killer'
A parole hearing is scheduled Wednesday for "Onion Field" killer Gregory Powell, who was convicted of murdering a Los Angeles police officer south of Bakersfield in 1963 after abducting him and his partner.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents the LAPD's rank-and-file, is opposing parole for Powell.
"This vicious murderer has not yet paid his debt to society and should be forced to serve the maximum term of his sentence," Paul M. Weber, the LAPPL's president, wrote in a letter last week to the California Board of Prison Terms.
"We must never show any tolerance for the killing of police officers. Please send the clear message that the murder of police officers is unacceptable and all those who are guilty of it must expect the harshest possible punishment available under the law," Weber added in his letter.
Powell, now 76, was convicted of murdering 31-year-old LAPD Officer Ian Campbell in a crime detailed in former LAPD Officer Joseph Wambaugh's best- selling book, "The Onion Field," which was later made into a movie.
Campbell and partner Karl Hettinger were abducted at gunpoint by Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith on March 9, 1963, while the two officers were patrolling in Hollywood. The officers were driven to an isolated onion field, where Powell shot Campbell to death.
Hettinger was shot at as he fled the onion field, but managed to escape in the darkness. But Weber wrote that "the incident haunted him
(Hettinger) the rest of his life."
The original convictions of Powell and Smith were reversed on appeal and they were retried and convicted again. Powell was initially sentenced to death, but that sentence was reduced to life in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that California's death penalty law at the time was unconstitutional.
Powell has repeatedly been denied parole.
Smith, released from prison in 1982, was in and out of custody several times before dying at a Los Angeles County jail facility in April 2007http://www.presstelegram.com/breakingnews/ci_14270481 Below is the full story.Many movies and books have been written about this crime. 'Onion Field' Killing RevisitedJanuary 22, 2010 | 11:08 am
http://i49.tinypic.com/2eatsfn.jpg March 13, 1963, Jimmy Lee Smith reenacts the killing of Officer Ian Campbellhttp://i48.tinypic.com/97o0pc.jpg At the link are the original articles and story from the L.A.Times http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thedailymirror/2010/01/onion-field-killing-revisited.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheDailyMirror+%28The+Daily+M irror%29
January 28th, 2010, 09:20 AM
Nope... probably eternal nope.
A convicted killer was denied parole Wednesday 47 years after he and a partner kidnapped two Los Angeles police officers and shot one to death in a case made famous by the book and movie "The Onion Field."
A California Board of Prison Terms panel found the 76-year-old Gregory Powell unsuitable for parole after a hearing at the California Men's Colony at San Luis Obispo. It was his 11th parole hearing.
Deputy District Attorney Alexis De la Garza, who spoke to The Associated Press after the hearing, said the denial's duration would be for three years.
De la Garza said that Powell told board commissioners John Peck and Randy Kevorkian that he has terminal prostate cancer and would like to be released before he dies.
January 28th, 2010, 01:56 PM
Look how long his neck is,he looks like one of the green onions you pull out of the dirt!
January 28th, 2010, 02:01 PM
If his hair was whiter, I would go with "Q-Tip".
January 28th, 2010, 02:19 PM
LOL yeah Qtip fits.Thats just a really friggen long neck
October 18th, 2011, 08:37 PM
Cancer-stricken 'Onion Field' killer denied release, will die in prison
Los Angeles (CNN) -- The California Board of Parole Hearings declined Tuesday to grant a compassionate prison release to Gregory Powell, the infamous "Onion Field" cop killer whose 1963 crime was chronicled in Joseph Wambaugh's best-selling book.
The ruling means that Powell, 78, who has terminal cancer with less than six months to live, will die behind bars, according to officials and a prison physician's prognosis.
"The conditions under which the prisoner would be released or receive treatment pose a threat to public safety," the board said in its ruling.
"Powell's release would pose a public safety risk due to his history on noncompliance and lack of cooperation with prison rules, his failure to follow recommendations made by the board to render suitable for parole, his current physical abilities and the fact that he expressly does not wish to be considered (for compassionate release), and therefore, will likely be noncompliant upon release and would cause harm to be returned to prison, where he wishes to remain," the board said.
Powell is serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole for first-degree murder at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, said Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Prison officials have not disclosed Powell's illness because of state and federal privacy laws, Thornton said.
But the Los Angeles Police Protective League said Powell has cancer, and the police officers' union opposed a compassionate release, saying he should die in prison. Also opposing his release were Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley and relatives of slain Los Angeles Police Officer Ian Campbell, who Powell killed.
"To have released the man who kidnapped and callously executed Officer Ian Campbell would have been a travesty of justice," Cooley said in a statement.
Even though Powell has said that he didn't want to be compassionately released, he met criteria under a state law requiring that he be considered for such a recall of his sentence, Thornton said. A Corrections Department secretary designee in September recommended that Powell's sentence not be recalled, Thornton said.
"If an inmate is not on death row and is not serving life without parole and he's terminally ill and basically has six months or less to live as determined by a physician, then he meets the criteria under the law to be considered for compassionate release," Thornton said.
The state's 12 commissioners on the Board of Parole Hearings made their ruling on Powell's case during the board's monthly executive meeting in Sacramento.
Powell is among the longest-serving inmates in California's prison system, Thornton said.
August 13th, 2012, 02:52 PM
-Gregory Powell, who was convicted of killing a Los Angeles police officer during an infamous kidnapping that inspired Joseph Wambaugh's true-life crime book "The Onion Field," has died in prison at age 79, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said Monday.
Powell died late Sunday in a hospice at the California Medical Facility, a men's prison in the Northern California city of Vacaville.
Powell, who spent close to a half century behind bars, was denied parole last year when he told a parole board he was suffering from prostate cancer and wanted to spend his last days outside prison.
"I've done enough time. I'm a different man, and I'm ready to be paroled," he was quoted as telling the parole panel members who were unmoved.
"It was a cold, deliberate crime, and he had a long time to reflect on it," said Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Alexis De la Garza, who argued at the hearing for Powell's continued incarceration.
Powell and a co-defendant, Jimmy Lee Smith, were convicted of abducting Officer Ian Campbell and his partner Officer Karl Hettinger from a Hollywood street on March 6, 1963, after the officers stopped their car for making an illegal U-turn.
Powell disarmed the officers by pulling a gun on Campbell and threatening to kill him. Then he and Smith drove them to an onion field near Bakersfield.
Wrongly believing that they had violated the federal kidnapping statute known as the "Lindberg Law," and faced the death penalty if captured, Powell shot Campbell in the face.
Hettinger bolted as Powell fired at him. He ran four miles to the safety of a farmhouse.
Powell and Smith, both ex-convicts, were arrested soon after.
Hettinger was haunted by the events of that night for the rest of his life and was shunned by his colleagues. He left the force and went into the nursery business and became a Kern County supervisor. He died in 1994 at age 59.
Powell and Smith were originally sentenced to death but the sentences were reduced to life in prison when the California Supreme Court overturned the state's death penalty. The punishment has since been reinstated, but didn't apply retroactively.
The crimes were documented in 1973's "The Onion Field" and the 1979 film of the same name, both written by Wambaugh, a former Los Angeles police officer.
Wambaugh said in a 2011 interview with The Associated Press that he visited Powell and Smith in prison when he was writing the book and found that they were fairly intelligent men whose lack of violent histories made their crime inexplicable.
"They were both smart guys and just petty criminals who got in over their heads one night," Wambaugh said. "Who would have thought two such losers would do such a horrific crime?"
He said when he asked Powell if he had any complaints about the manuscript for "The Onion Field," he had only one.
"He said, 'I don't think I'm nearly as physically unattractive as you seem to think I am" said Wambaugh. "That hurt his vanity."
Powell tried 11 times for parole. The Los Angeles police union opposed his release even when he said he was terminally ill. Campbell's daughter appeared at the last parole hearing and said it would be an insult to all police officers if Powell was released.
Wambaugh said that one of Powell's lawyers often complained that "Powell would have been out of prison if it hadn't been for 'The Onion Field' book. And I think he was right. The book kept Powell in prison. It just became so famous."
Asked how he felt about that, Wambaugh said, "I'm not shedding any tears."
Smith, who was depicted in the book as a follower, was paroled in 1982. He was subsequently arrested numerous times, mostly on drug-related charges.
He died April 7, 2007, of a heart attack at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic, where he was being held for failing to report to a parole officer.
August 13th, 2012, 03:34 PM
Good. I'm glad he's dead and I'm glad he died in prison. WTF is up with compassionate release? If you murdered someone in cold blood, you deserve no compassion at all, especially when it comes to you wanting to get out of prison. Pfffft.
November 8th, 2012, 02:42 AM
I didnt know there was a movie about this
unless I forgot but Im watching it on one of the oldies channels we have here
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