“Today, the Sussex County Grand Jury returned a 14-count indictment charging Derrick Powell with 1st Degree Murder, among other charges, for the Sept. 1 shooting that killed Georgetown police officer Ptl. Chad Spicer and injured Georgetown police officer Cpl. Shawn Brittingham,” Attorney General Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III announced on Monday, Nov. 23.
“After reviewing the facts of the crime, we have probable cause to believe that one or more statutory aggravating circumstances are present, thus making the death penalty a possibility in this case. Consequently, we will advise the Superior Court that for procedural purposes this case should be treated as a death penalty case. The final decision about whether to seek the death penalty will be made after the Department completes its review pursuant to our established death penalty review procedures.”
On Sept. 1, 2009, Georgetown police officers Chad Spicer and Shawn Brittingham responded to a report of a shooting at the McDonald’s restaurant on Route 113 in Georgetown. Police said they identified and attempted to stop a vehicle suspected to be involved in the incident. During that pursuit, the suspect vehicle suddenly stopped and the driver, Christopher Reeves, fled the vehicle, police reported. Derrick Powell, a passenger, fired a handgun at the police cruiser, they said. The bullet struck Spicer and a piece of the projectile struck Brittingham. Spicer died as the result of his gunshot wound.
Powell was apprehended after a nearby resident reported to police that an individual had unlawfully entered her home, police said. When Powell was taken into police custody, he was in possession of a 9-mm semi-automatic pistol, according to police. Reeves turned himself in to the police several days later.
On Nov. 23, the Sussex County Grand Jury indicted Derrick Powell on the following felonies:
• First Degree Murder for recklessly causing the death of Ptl. Chad Spicer, a law- enforcement officer, in the lawful performance of his duties;
• First Degree Murder, Felony Murder, for recklessly causing the death of Spicer while fleeing from an attempted robbery;
• Second Degree Burglary for entering a residence armed with a handgun;
• Second Degree Assault for recklessly causing physical injury to Cpl. Shawn Brittingham by means of a deadly weapon;
• Resisting Arrest with force or violence;
• Attempted Robbery First Degree for his conduct at McDonald’s;
• Reckless Endangering First Degree for his conduct at McDonald’s; and
• Seven counts of Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Felony.
The Sussex County Grand Jury indicted Christopher Reeves on the following charges:
• Failure to Stop at the Command of a Police Officer, a felony; and
• Resisting Arrest, a misdemeanor.
The Delaware Department of Justice reminded the public that an indictment is merely an allegation and is not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a jury trial at which the State bears the burden of proving each charge beyond a reasonable doubt, they said.