General Crime

* Troy Powell first-degree murder conviction upheld for murder of pawnshop owner Ronald Morris

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A state appeals court in San Francisco has upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a Las Vegas man in the shooting death of a popular pawnshop owner in Fremont in 2006. Troy Lee Powell, 31, was convicted by an Alameda County Superior Court jury in Hayward in 2010 of the murder of pawnshop owner Ronald Morris. He was sentenced the following year to 27 years to life in prison.

Powell was one of four masked men who burst into Morris’s shop, Fremont Jewelry and Loan, at about 11 a.m. on Jan. 6, 2006. Morris, 55, was killed with a gunshot wound to the head. Several guns and some jewelry were stolen from the shop. Powell was not accused of being the shooter, but was convicted of first-degree murder for his role in the crime.

He was also found guilty of three counts of second-degree robbery. In his appeal, Powell claimed a confession he gave to Fremont police in June 2006 was not voluntary and should not have been used as evidence against him. In the confession, Powell admitted to being present at the pawnshop during the fatal shooting.

A three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeal unanimously rejected Powell’s appeal in a decision issued on Monday. Justice Peter Siggins wrote that a video recording of the police interview “establishes beyond any doubt that Powell’s confession was voluntary and that he did not invoke his right to remain silent.”

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