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Prosecutors: Man admits to slaying that happened during Zoom call

Amityville and Suffolk County police investigate a fatal

Amityville and Suffolk County police investigate a fatal stabbing at a Dixon Avenue residence in Amityville on Thursday. Credit: Paul Mazza

The Amityville son charged with fatally stabbing his father — who was participating in a Zoom videoconference at the time — has confessed, saying he used several knives and blaming his father as the instigator, Suffolk prosecutors said Friday.

Thomas Scully-Powers, 32, who shared an apartment with his father, Dwight Powers, 72, told police that “his father wouldn’t die, he kept breathing, so I had to keep stabbing him,” the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe of the homicide bureau, said at the arraignment.

The son, who was charged with second-degree murder and remanded without bail, explained he resorted to using three knives during the noontime attack Thursday because they kept bending, Newcombe said.

Scully-Powers' attorney, Jonathan Manley, entered a plea of not guilty at the arraignment.

Manley said Friday afternoon: “At this point, it would be premature for me to comment on the merits of the case. I haven’t had the opportunity to discuss anything with my client with regards to the facts of the case. And we haven’t been able to conduct our own independent investigation.”

He added, “I expect I will have a videoconference with him on Monday,” referring to Scully-Powers.

Newcombe provided other details of a ferocious assault. Scully-Powers, after stabbing his father repeatedly in the chest, turned him over on his back to continue the knife attacks, the prosecutor said. The father's throat was sliced down to the bone from ear to ear, she said.

The video participants — a number of whom called 911, though not all of them knew the apartment’s address — could hear the assault, including the father‘s moans, though he had fallen out of sight behind a counter, the prosecutor said.

Scully-Powers tried to escape from police by leaping out a second-floor window but was captured a short time later while trying to cleanse the blood from his body with bottles of Dr Pepper taken from a deli nearby, the prosecutor told the court.

The son evidently had tried to conceal the crime, the prosecutor said, as police, executing a search warrant, found the father’s body wrapped in a blanket on the floor, a blood-covered bedsheet in a trash bag, and a mop and bucket in a bathroom.

The father began the fight, the son said, accusing him of trying to cut his wrist, according to the prosecutor. She said police observed “a nick” on his wrist.

Scully-Powers faces a sentence of 25 to years to life if convicted. Manley, his attorney, deferred a bail request and asked that his client receive medical attention. 

“This is a shocking and disturbing case,” Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy Sini said in a statement. “By the defendant’s own admissions, he brutally stabbed his own father repeatedly until he was certain he was dead. The investigation into this horrific murder is still ongoing, but rest assured we will obtain justice for the victim.”

Michael Mandarino, 62, of Glen Cove, worked with Powers for about a decade when they were both inspectors for U.S. Customs at Kennedy Airport.

Mandarino, who said he hasn’t seen Powers in decades, called his former colleague a “devoted” employee who left an impression. “He was a hard guy not to like,” Mandarino said. “He was very personable. I never heard him say a bad word about anybody.”

Mandarino said he was shaken up Thursday when he heard Powers’ name mentioned in news reports.

“The impression he left on me, I could never imagine anyone taking such a hostile act against him. It just doesn’t add up. To me, he was one of the nicest guys.”

Relatives of Powers couldn’t be reached Friday.

This is not the defendant’s first brush with the law. The son previously was charged with criminal mischief in the third degree for shooting at a pizzeria and then violated the terms of his probation, the prosecutor said.

He also was charged with reckless endangerment in the third degree for allegedly shooting a BB gun, a matter still pending, the prosecutor said. 

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