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Convicted murderer wants evidence checked

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Joyce Powell allegedly wrote a song about the crime in 1992

ALBION – Two years after she was sentenced to 25 years to life for a drug-related slaying, Joyce Powell is working on an appeal. Her attorney wants to examine critical evidence that led jurors to convict her.

Powell in 1992 allegedly shot John Rutledge, 37, of Rochester and dumped his body in a ditch along Sawyer Road in Carlton. The murder was a cold case for 19 years until 2011.

The most damning evidence against Powell may have been a cassette tape that was seized from a car driven by Powell in 1992. She was stopped in Ontario County. The tape include a song that Powell allegedly wrote and sang that details how she murdered Rutledge, District Attorney Joe Cardone said.

The song was on a store-bought music tape. The tape sat in evidence storage for nearly two decades. Investigators didn’t play it until January 2011.

During the trial, experts studied the tape for authenticity, and deemed it hadn’t been altered, Cardone said. Musical friends of Powell also said it was her voice on the tape, he said.

Powell’s attorney Marcel Lajoy of Albany wants to have the tape studied again. He was in Orleans County Court this afternoon with Powell, and asked Judge James Punch to allow Lajoy’s experts to look at the tape to make sure it’s authentic.

Cardone doesn’t want to let the original tape out of his possession.

Punch didn’t issue a ruling today.

Powell was a high-profile anti-violence leader in Rochester in the late 1990s and early 2000s. However, that image changed in 2007 when she was convicted of brutally assaulting a woman. Powell was sentenced to 16 years in state prison for burglary and assault for that crime.