Suspect will be his own lawyer at his trial in slaying of woman


A Baltimore man being investigated as a possible serial killer went to court yesterday and announced he wanted "the truth found" about a slaying he was charged with last month.

John Dean Powell of the 300 block of Herring Court told a District Court judge that he would represent himself in the murder case and in a separate assault case, which went to trial yesterday.

Mr. Powell, 36, is charged in the death of 27-year-old Cecelia R. Mosca, whose body was found in a recessed stairwell of Lombard Middle School on March 15. She had been strangled and beaten, and trash was piled on her body.

Police are exploring links between Ms. Mosca's slaying and those of three other women who also were beaten and strangled since October 1993.

Their bodies were found in the same area, not far from Mr. Powell's Southeast Baltimore home.

Col. Ronald L. Daniel, head of the city police Criminal Investigation Bureau, said yesterday that those investigations are continuing.

Prosecutors yesterday asked District Judge Askew W. Gatewood Jr. to postpone a preliminary hearing on Ms. Mosca's case, to give them more time to analyze physical evidence. The judge granted a two-week postponement.

Police charged Mr. Powell after a witness who knew him reported seeing him beating a woman who matched Ms. Mosca's description, the day before her body was found.

Mr. Powell, who has denied committing the slaying, said yesterday he wanted to cross-examine the police officer involved in his arrest. He was disappointed when Judge Gatewood told him he could not do so at this stage of the case.

"I just feel I'm being denied the opportunity to have the truth found," he said.

Mr. Powell, who has past convictions on drug and theft charges, also has been charged with several assaults against women in the past.

But those cases were either dropped or placed on an inactive docket.

He is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

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