A jailed Roxbury man hired his former cellmate to murder a state prosecutor, US District Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz alleged in a statement on Monday.

Pernell Powell, 73, was charged with using the United States mail to hire a fellow inmate at the Worcester County House of Corrections to murder a prosecutor, while Powell was being held while awaiting trial for his fifth OUI.

According to Special Agent Michael E. Dwyer, Powell’s former cellmate informed the FBI of the threat.  He wrote a letter to the FBI in July 2011 asking to speak to them about an urgent matter, and then told them that Powell arranged the murder of a prosecutor.

Powell allegedly agreed to pay the inmate a $2,000 down payment, and $2,000 more after the murder was complete.  He planned to pay the inmate through a relative in Florida.

The cellmate planned to take Powell’s down payment and not carry out the murder, but then heard Powell on the phone ordering a money order to the designated parties.

In a conversation caught on tape, Powell said he wanted the prosecutor killed, and told the inmate not to get caught.  The conversation provides the FBI with more than probable cause to believe that Powell is guilty.

If convicted, Powell faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

About The Author

Brittney McNamara is a Blast Junior Editor

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