NEW YORK — A Long Island man suspected of fatally stabbing his father on a live Zoom call confessed to the caught-on-camera killing after police found him trying to wash blood off his body with Dr. Pepper, prosecutors said Friday.
Thomas Scully-Powers, 32, was arraigned via video and ordered jailed without bail after pleading not guilty to a murder charge in the attack Thursday that left 72-year-old Dwight Powers nearly decapitated as horrified call participants scrambled to dial 911.
District Attorney Tim Sini said Scully-Powers told police he stabbed his father about 15 times and used several knives because the blades kept bending. An autopsy showed that Powers had multiple stab wounds to his back, neck and torso, and police found multiple knives at the scene.
“By the defendant’s own admissions, he brutally stabbed his own father repeatedly until he was certain he was dead,” Sini said, calling it a “shocking and disturbing” case.
Scully-Powers’ lawyer, Jon Manley, said they were only able to speak for about five minutes before Friday’s video arraignment and that it would be premature for him to comment on the case. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Prosecutors say Scully-Powers attacked his father around noon Thursday at their Amityville apartment as the older man sat down for a Zoom video meeting, beating him before returning to the room with a knife. That prompted one of about 20 other people in the meeting to call 911.
Such virtual meetings have become ubiquitous during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing people to see and talk to each other in groups without the risk of physical proximity. Because many meetings are recorded as they unfold, there’s a chance prosecutors will be able to obtain video of the attack taking place.
After an apparent attempt to clean up, Scully-Powers jumped out a second-floor window and fled on foot as police officers arrived, prosecutors said. A mop and bucket were found in the bathroom and a blood-saturated bed sheet was found in a garbage bag.
Scully-Powers then ran to a deli, swiped several bottles of Dr. Pepper and tried using the soda to wash blood off his body, prosecutors said.
Amityville Village police apprehended Scully-Powers within an hour of the killing about a mile from the apartment. He was treated at a hospital for injuries from his jump.
Follow Michael Sisak at twitter.com/mikesisak
Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press