Alabama man sentenced to death in fatal gas station robbery and shooting

Published 8:37 am Tuesday, May 25, 2021

An Alabaster man has been sentenced to death after a hearing on Monday, May 24.

Michael Anthony Powell, 48, was arrested and charged with capital murder and robbery on Nov. 4, 2016 after shooting and killing Chevron convenience store clerk Tracy Algar during a robbery.

Algar, who was 54 at the time of her death, was working at Alabaster’s Kirkland Chevron off of U.S. 31 in October of 2016, when the defendant robbed the store and murdered her.

Following an eight-day trial, the jury announced a guilty verdict of capital murder on April 28. A day later, following a penalty phase hearing, the jury then recommended a sentence of death for Powell.

During the hearing, the State of Alabama presented evidence of Powell’s prior violent felonies, which included second degree assault and two counts of third degree robbery.

Presiding Circuit Judge Bill Bostick accepted the jury’s guilty verdict and scheduled sentencing for Monday.

After hearing arguments from the parties, Bostick sentenced the defendant to death, concurring with the jury’s recommendation. Powell has been held without bond since his arrest in November 2016.

“Investigators with the Alabaster Police Department and assisting agencies did an outstanding job putting this case together,” said Shelby County District Attorney Jill Lee. “Chief (Curtis) Rigney and the entire department, along with the combined efforts of the Major Crimes Task Force, helped to bring justice for this family. Justice was served and I am thankful Tracy’s family can start to heal from this horrific event.”

Assistant District Attorneys Daniel McBrayer, Ben Fuller, Shaun Styers and Doug Smith prosecuted the case.

“We’re so thankful that Tracy’s family has finally been able to see justice in this case. It has been a long time for them, and they miss her every day,” McBrayer said.

The case was investigated by detectives Jason Higgins and Josh Rauch of the Alabaster Police Department.

Powell was indicted by a Shelby County grand jury in November 2016 on a capital murder charge originally brought against him by the Alabaster Police Department on Oct. 30, 2016.

According to Rigney, the Alabaster Police Chief, after the arrest, Powell entered the gas station, took Algar into the bathroom and shot her in the top of the head, killing her. He then stole a “couple hundred dollars” in the robbery before fleeing the scene on foot, Rigney said.

In a request to bar the death penalty in Powell’s case back in 2017, Powell’s attorney claimed Powell’s “indictment fails to allege the existence of any aggravating circumstances which would authorize a sentence of death.”

“The failure of the indictment to allege one or more aggravating circumstances precludes the state from requesting the death penalty, and bars this court from sentencing the defendant to death in the event that he is convicted of capital murder for the reasons stated in this motion,” read the request.

Bostick denied the request to bar the death penalty in December 2017.

Powell also underwent a mental evaluation in 2019, which caused delays in the trial starting. The trial was expected to start June 10, 2019, but the mental evaluation pushed it back once again.

The evaluation determined Powell’s “mental condition at the time of the alleged offense, including any possible mental disease or defect, any relation, if any, of the same to the alleged offense, and specifically all grounds used to determine whether or not (Powell), as a result of any such disease or defect, might have been unable to appreciate the nature and quality or wrongfulness of the alleged offense,” according to the court order.