Dale Middleton Florida Death Row

Spread the love
David Middleton Florida Death Row

Dale Middleton Florida Death Row

Dale Stephen Middleton committed murder on two separate occasions, in
each case abducting a woman from her home, holding her captive in a
leased storage unit, killing her, and then dumping her body.

he discovery of Katherine Powell’s body and resulting investigationAt
around 9:30 p.m. on the night of February 11, 1995, a woman’s body was
found in a trash dumpster at a Reno apartment complex.   The body was in
a sleeping bag and covered by plastic garbage bags.   A large yellow
plastic bag covered the sleeping bag.   The body was taken to the
coroner’s office.   From its fingerprints the body was later identified
as that of Katherine Powell.
Dr. Roger Ritzlin performed the
autopsy on Powell’s body.   Her body was loosely bound by rope and,
aside from a black tank top and blue socks, was naked.   It exhibited
bruises, particularly on the elbows and knees;  most of the bruises were
incurred prior to death.   Powell had likely been dead for at least two
days.   There were blue fibers on her body.   A nontoxic amount of
lithium was in her blood.  (Powell had been prescribed lithium for a
bipolar disorder.)   Microscopic analysis of sections of the left
ventricle of her heart exhibited some fibrosis and acute cell death;
 the latter occurred a few days before death.   Ritzlin found no
petechiae (small hemorrhages) or any fecal staining.   At trial, he
testified that after death by suffocation, petechiae are usually seen
and fecal staining is often seen.   Ritzlin could not determine the
cause of death, but suffocation or cardiac arrhythmia were possible
causes.   Bite marks were later found on Powell’s body, and a semen
stain was found on her right thigh.
At the time of her death,
Powell was forty-five years old, divorced, and living alone in Reno. She
had a Ph.D. in psychology and taught third grade at Sun Valley
Elementary School.   She was last heard from or seen alive on the
evening of Friday, February 3, 1995.   Powell had a ski trip with a
friend planned for the next morning, but she failed to show.   Various
friends attempted to contact her over the weekend, and she failed to
appear at work on Monday, February 6, although she was known to be
extremely reliable.   A school custodian went to her home and knocked,
but got no response;  he noticed an attempted service tag from TCI Cable
on the door, dated Saturday, February 4. Later on Monday, two other
school employees went to Powell’s home, looked through a window and saw
what they thought could be a foot on the unmade bed, and called 911.
Police arrived and entered the home.   The bed was rumpled, but they saw
nothing that made them suspicious at that time.
After Powell’s
body was found on February 11, 1995, police learned the following
information.   Two of Powell’s neighbors, Angela Green and Charles
Corning, noticed a pickup truck parked in front of Powell’s home early
in the morning on Saturday, February 4. Green noticed that the pickup
was loaded up with “home items” and had out-of-state plates;  when she
was later shown a photograph of a pickup owned by Middleton, she said
“that could well be the truck.”   Corning said that the pickup was red,
and when shown the photo of Middleton’s pickup, he said “that looks like
the truck.”   A third neighbor noticed on Wednesday, February 1, that a
TCI Cable truck was parked in front of Powell’s home.   This neighbor
later identified the occupants as Middleton and Evonne Haley.  (Haley
lived with Middleton.)
Two of Powell’s friends, Gerald Brown and
Candace Kelly, returned from a trip on Sunday, February 5, and went to
pick up Kelly’s dog, which Powell had been keeping for them.   Powell
was not home, but they had a key, entered, and got the dog.   The next
day, Brown heard that Powell had not gone to work so he went back to her
home and noticed various items were missing, including a phone, a
camera, a FAX machine, a laptop computer, and a laser printer.   In the
kitchen he found a couple of condoms and a wad of duct tape.
On
Sunday, February 5, a person telephoned the Good Guys store in Reno and
ordered a $1,900 piece of stereo equipment, using Powell’s credit card.
Gary Cable, the employee who took the call, said that the caller’s
voice was husky and he could not tell if the caller was a man or woman.
Mark Decker, Cable’s manager, approved the transaction.   Decker
received a telephone call regarding the purchase on Monday morning.   He
believed the caller was male.   The caller said he would send a courier
to pick up the equipment.   On Monday afternoon, a woman arrived at the
store with a red handtruck and picked up the equipment.   Store
employees later identified the woman as Haley.   One employee’s
description of the truck she drove led police to Middleton’s pickup, an
early 1970s, red International Harvester with Colorado license plates.
Reno
police detective Steven Reed determined that Middleton was the TCI
Cable technician who had made a service call at Powell’s home on January
28, 1995.   The detective took Powell’s neighbor, Corning, to
Middleton’s workplace to view Middleton’s pickup.   Corning believed
that the pickup was likely the same one he had seen at Powell’s.
Detective
David Jenkins determined that the brand of yellow plastic bag covering
the sleeping bag which held Powell’s body was sold at only two hardware
stores in Reno. Only one store, Commercial Hardware in downtown Reno,
had recently sold the yellow bags.   They were sold on Wednesday,
February 8, along with a box of 33-gallon garbage bags.
On
February 23, 1995, Detective Jenkins interviewed Middleton, who was not
in custody.   Middleton admitted that he had made a service call to
Powell’s home on January 28, 1995, and that he owned a red, 1972
International Harvester pickup.   However, he denied knowing anything
about the purchase of stereo equipment at the Good Guys store or about
Powell’s credit card.   When asked about the purchase of plastic bags at
Commercial Hardware, Middleton initially said he did not know where the
store was, but then said he had shopped there five or six times but not
recently.   When asked if he had shopped there on February 8, he was
equivocal-saying that if he was on video, then he had-and he was unsure
whether he had bought any garbage bags.   Although Jenkins had said
nothing about Powell’s death, Middleton said that it seemed like Jenkins
was trying to tie Middleton to her murder.   Jenkins asked if Middleton
had a storage unit, and Middleton said no.   The interview ended when
Middleton said that he wanted to leave.
On March 4, 1995, an
anonymous caller informed police that Middleton and Haley had a storage
unit.   The next day, police searched the unit pursuant to a warrant.
They found the stereo equipment purchased from the Good Guys and a box
of yellow plastic bags and a box of garbage bags, both with Commercial
Hardware price tags.   One of three yellow bags was missing from the
first box, as were some garbage bags from the second.   Also in the unit
were Powell’s house and car keys, camera, computer, printer, and other
personal property.   A refrigerator was lying on its back on the floor
of the unit.   In it were blue fibers similar to fibers found on
Powell’s body.   The refrigerator was modified:  its shelves were
removed, the floor of its freezer compartment was cut and folded down to
make one space, and two air holes were drilled in it.   Police also
found a switchblade knife, a stun gun, a foam ball with apparent teeth
marks, and rope similar to that used to bind Powell’s body.   Other
evidence collected included:  orange-handled tension clamps;  hair and
fiber from one of the clamps;  black canvas belts with velcro;  black
wire ties;  handcuffs;  condoms;  partial rolls of duct tape;  a large
speaker box with a space behind the speaker about 14 inches deep, 30
inches wide, and 36 inches high;  hairs and fibers from the speaker box;
 several blankets;  and chains.   Pursuant to a seizure order, police
obtained a mold of Middleton’s teeth to compare to the bite marks found
on Powell’s body.   Dr. Raymond Rawson, a professor in dentistry,
concluded that the bite mark on Powell’s left breast was inflicted while
she was still alive, that it was a hard and painful bite causing
bleeding below the skin, and that Middleton inflicted it.
The discovery of Thelma Davila’s remains and resulting investigation
On
April 9, 1995, about two months after the discovery of Powell’s body, a
man walking with his dog in a secluded area near Verdi found a human
skull and other skeletal remains and notified police.   From August
through October 1994, another Verdi resident had smelled a foul odor in
the area where the remains were later found.   In late September or
early October 1994, he saw remnants of a sleeping bag in that area.
Donald Means of the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office performed forensic
investigation of the remains.   He noted “a lot of animal activity” and
“trash bags, bones, and bone fragments strewn several hundred yards.”   A
matted hairpiece was found with rope in it;  the rope was the same
diameter as the rope found with Powell’s body.   Means had also
investigated Powell’s death, and finding two “body dumps” “with trash
bags and rope” in such a short period of time was unusual in Means’s
experience.
A dental bridge in the skull led to the identification
of the remains as those of Thelma Davila.   Dr. Frederick Laubscher
performed a “medical examination” of the remains.  (An “autopsy” was not
possible because of the lack of tissue.)   He examined the remains for
evidence of the cause of death, but the skull was intact, and none of
the other bones exhibited evidence of a gunshot or knife wound, crushing
injury, or traumatic injury of any sort.   Because the remains were so
incomplete, Laubscher was unable to determine a cause of death.   He
could not rule out suffocation or most other possible causes of death.
The
police learned that Davila had disappeared in August 1994.   At that
time she was forty-two years old and shared a one-bedroom apartment in
Sparks with her sister, Dora Valverde.   She had worked her usual
evening shift at the Hickory Pit restaurant in Circus Circus in Reno on
Sunday, August 7, 1994.   She failed to show for work the next day even
though she had not missed a single day in more than six years of
employment at the restaurant.   She also failed to show up for a dental
appointment that day.
Valverde last saw her sister around 8:00
a.m. on Monday, August 8, 1994.   When Valverde left for work, Davila
was sleeping on the couch in the living room.   When Valverde returned
to the apartment that evening, the door was not locked, and a plant by
the couch had been knocked onto the floor.   She and one of Davila’s
friends later identified a blanket, a black lacy top, and a red hair tie
found in Middleton’s storage unit as Davila’s.   On Wednesday, August
10, 1994, Valverde reported her sister missing.
Davila
occasionally went with a friend to Cheers, a Latin dance club in
downtown Reno. The two went to Cheers on the night of Saturday, August
6, 1994.   The friend testified that Davila had a preference for black
men.   (Middleton is African-American.)   Another friend testified that
when he visited Davila and Valverde, they always looked out their window
at him before opening the door.   The former owner of Cheers saw
Middleton one night using the pay phone at Cheers sometime in the latter
part of 1994.   Two employees of the Hickory Pit restaurant remembered
seeing Haley in the restaurant.   One saw her there two or three times
in June and July of 1994, usually with a black man.   The other saw her
there just a day or two before Davila disappeared.   A third employee
saw Davila and Haley together in 1994 on three occasions:  at the
restaurant, at a grocery store, and at a medical complex.
A
Citifare bus driver knew Davila because she was a regular passenger on
his route for many years.   The driver saw Davila on the afternoon of
Friday, August 5, 1994, at the Sparks bus station.   Davila was quite
dressed up and told him her friends were picking her up to go out to
dinner.   A white or beige pickup truck pulled up.   In the truck were a
woman with curly, reddish blond hair and a black man.   The man stepped
out, Davila jumped into the truck and sat in the middle, and the truck
drove off.
TCI cable had been installed in the sisters’ apartment
in June 1993 and serviced in July 1994, but Middleton performed neither
service.   Middleton did not work on Monday, August 8, 1994, the day
Davila disappeared.   Around 6:45 a.m. that same day, a neighbor of
Davila and Valverde saw Middleton walk partway up the stairs leading to
Davila’s apartment and then come back down.
Other evidence presented at trial
Middleton
first leased a storage unit in Sparks on June 30, 1994, under the name
of Hal Data Research.   This unit was five feet by ten feet in size.
On the afternoon of August 8, 1994-the day that Davila was last seen
alive-Middleton leased a unit which was ten feet by ten feet and moved
out of the smaller unit.   Tenants entered the storage unit facility
using a computer code at the front gate, and records were kept of the
entries.   On Friday, February 3, 1995-the last day that Powell was seen
alive-Middleton entered the facility at 2:13 a.m. and 8:06 p.m. For
Saturday, February 4, the log showed entries by Middleton at 12:37 a.m.,
5:47 a.m., 6:49 a.m., 8:45 a.m., 11:53 a.m., and 5:38 p.m. On Sunday,
February 5, he entered the facility at 6:19 a.m., 11:09 a.m., and 3:30
p.m., and on Monday, February 6, he entered at 9:26 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.
There were no entries for Tuesday, February 7;  one entry at 6:49 p.m.
on Wednesday, February 8;  no entries on Thursday, February 9;  and one
entry on Friday, February 10, at 7:45 p.m. The log showed one entry on
Saturday, February 11, at 7:26 p.m. Powell’s body was found around 9:30
p.m. that same night.   Middleton entered the facility again at 12:53
a.m. on Sunday, February 12, 1995.
On June 7, 1995, at Middleton’s
request Detective Jenkins again interviewed Middleton.   Jenkins asked
questions regarding Davila.   Middleton said he had been to Davila’s
apartment complex but did not know her.   He denied that Davila’s
blanket could be in his storage unit.   He said that he had moved from
one storage unit to another on August 8, 1994.   Middleton told Jenkins
that Haley had never been to the storage unit and did not know about it.
  Jenkins spoke with Middleton again on June 20, 1995.   Middleton
continued to deny knowing Davila or having her blanket.
Forensic
analysis showed that fibers found in the refrigerator in Middleton’s
storage unit were indistinguishable from those found on Powell’s body:
 both were cotton and blue-green in color.   Two human head hairs found
in the refrigerator and one found on a black restraint belt could have
come from Powell.   Rope found in Middleton’s storage unit, the rope
found around Powell’s body, and the rope found with Davila’s remains
were all white, nylon, woven twelve-strand, and one-quarter inch in
diameter.   Analysis revealed no difference between the ropes;  however,
the rope was a common type. Five hairs found on a roll of duct tape and
two hairs found on two blankets in the storage unit were consistent
with those obtained from Davila’s hairbrush.   An expert in knot
analysis testified that the ropes found with the remains of both Powell
and Davila contained “SS granny knots,” but the granny knot is a very
common knot.
DNA analysis was also performed on various pieces of
evidence.   Cellular material was obtained from the foam ball found in
the storage unit.   DNA analysis of that material showed that it matched
Powell’s DNA;  the match was rarer than one in 100 million people.
The roots of various hairs found in the storage unit were tested.   The
DNA from two hairs found in a clamp and one hair on a blanket matched
Powell’s DNA;  the match was about one in every 780,000 Caucasians.
The DNA from one hair found on duct tape and one hair from another
blanket matched Davila’s DNA;  the match was one in 690,000 among
Hispanics.   DNA obtained from a semen stain on the right thigh of
Powell was consistent with Middleton’s DNA and that of about one of
every 100 African-Americans.
At trial the state offered expert
testimony that based on the volume of the refrigerator and the size of
the two holes drilled in it, a person weighing 145 pounds enclosed in
the refrigerator would have died from oxygen deprivation in about three
and a half hours.
Dr. Vincent Di Maio, a chief medical examiner in
Texas, testified for the state to the following.   Despite mild
perivascular fibrosis, Powell’s heart was healthy and normal.   Although
a person should have an EKG when she first begins taking lithium,
studies in the 1990s showed that long-term users of lithium did not die
from heart disease at a rate greater than the general population.   The
circumstances of Powell’s disappearance and her body when found
indicated that her death was a homicide.   The lack of pathological
findings indicated that she probably died of asphyxiation.   The bruises
on her elbows and knees were consistent with struggles to free herself
from a confined space, such as the refrigerator.   Petechiae were found
in only about thirteen percent of suffocation homicides handled by Di
Maio’s office.   The circumstances surrounding Davila’s disappearance
and skeletal remains also indicated that her death was a homicide, but
the cause of death could not be determined.
The defense presented
the testimony of two physicians.   Dr. Robert Bucklin, a deputy medical
examiner for Clark County, stated that Powell suffered from heart
disease, but he did not know if it caused her death.   He did not
believe that she died from asphyxiation.   Dr. Jerry Howle, a
psychiatrist, testified that taking lithium could cause cardiac
arrhythmia and carried some risk of sudden death, but he did not know
what effect it had on Powell.
Outside the presence of the jury,
the district court asked Middleton if he wished to testify.   Middleton
said that he wanted to “testify on the Davila case part of it.   But I
guess I can’t because the cases are joined.   I cannot testify on one
without looking bad on the other one.   So I guess I can’t testify.”
The
jury found Middleton guilty of two counts of first-degree murder, two
counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count of grand larceny, and one
count of fraudulent use of a credit card.   At a bench trial the next
month, the district court found him guilty of two counts of ex-felon in
possession of a firearm.

Dale Middleton 2019 Information

DC Number:801152
Name:MIDDLETON, DALE
Race:WHITE
Sex:MALE
Birth Date:05/15/1973
Initial Receipt Date:10/25/2012
Current Facility:UNION C.I.
Current Custody:MAXIMUM
Current Release Date:DEATH SENTENCE
Tags: , ,

Comments

    • ROBERT N ADAM
    • December 26, 2020
    Reply

    “The friend testified that Davila had a preference for black men. (Middleton is African-American.) ”
    DC Number: 801152
    Name: MIDDLETON, DALE
    Race: WHITE ????????????
    Sex: MALE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *