A state appeals court has upheld the sentence of a Marinette County man convicted of five counts of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle.
Richard Powell is serving a 25-year sentence for the January, 2009, crash which killed Joel Rivas and four of his children.
Powell appealed the sentence. The trial court found that Powell's ex-wife lied when her letter described an incident in which Powell told her to get on her knees in their garage, told her to prepare to die, shot a bullet into the garage floor, and laughed about it, saying he wasn't aiming at her but only trying to scare her. The State conceded that the information about the incident in the garage was inaccurate and that the sentencing court relied on it.
But in a decision last week, the appeals court denied Powell's motion.
"The ex-wife's untruthful information was not enough to change the assessment of Powell's character. The sentence was also based on the seriousness of the offenses and the determination that Powell was a danger to the community. In light of the multitude of factors relied on by the sentencing court, there was no reasonable possibility that the error in reliance on the inaccurate information about the garage incident contributed to Powell's sentence. The error was harmless," the court wrote.
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