Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

A Friend's Betrayal: The Murder of Tammy Epperson

Troy Powell

Troy Powell, 32, stalked Tammy by showing up at her job with flowers and teddy bears. He'd wait in his truck outside her home and her church, offering her a ride because a bus strike was going on at the time. Sometimes Tammy took him up on his offer, but usually had someone else come along because she thought it was safer that way. She feared him, but at the same time she wanted to help him because he was a drug addict.

Troy Powell
Troy Powell

Tammy told Powell repeatedly that she would be his friend and help him with his drug habit, but wanted no romantic involvement.

One of the things detectives found in her apartment was a phone book where Tammy kept a log of all the times Powell called her. A typical entry: "Troy Powell called, 1 o'clock. Told him to quit calling, hung up."

The day her body was found, a friend of Ron Simms said he had talked to Powell and Powell admitted killing Tammy.

"You need to check what's going on and see what's happening," mutual friend Timothy Todd told Simms.

Todd told Simms the story as he had heard it from Powell: that Powell and Tammy had sex, got into an argument and he killed her. Simms immediately notified police and a security guard at the Ballington broke down Tammy's door because it was locked with a deadbolt and the manager didn't have a key.

Detectives held Simms at the police station because they didn't know if he was telling the truth or if he had killed Tammy himself.

"Well, everybody's a suspect," reflected Detective Emmett Badar. "You've got a city of three and a half million people and the reality is, we really don't know. And if you start rushing to judgment, somewhere along the line you get lost. We don't know where Troy Powell is, but until we determine and locate Troy Powell, we're gonna look at everybody." 

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