Nancy Powers became upset when her ex-husband told her he had identified the bayonet found near the corpse of stabbing victim Raymond "Jack" Jarmack as his old Persian Gulf war souvenir, the jury at her murder trial learned Friday.
Jeffrey S. Powers testified at his former wife's murder trial in State Supreme Court that she telephoned him at his residence in Dayton, Ohio, before his grand jury appearance here in February and urged him not to help the authorities.
Powers said that when he told her he had identified the murder weapon state police investigators showed him as an M-1 bayonet that he had given her brother, Robert Schmelzer, about six years ago she said "Oh (expletive deleted)."
He said he also identified a discarded gym bag that contained his old bayonet sheath -- which police found hours after Jarmack's murder -- as "similar" to one his two sons used. Powers, 37, said his ex-wife "basically spoke fast" and was "scared and crying" as she told him that Jarmack abducted her at knifepoint.
While Powers testified that his ex-wife told him that Jarmack forced her to get into her car at knifepoint and then walked around it to the passenger side, her father, George Schmelzer, gave contradictory testimony.
Subpoenaed by the prosecution, Schmelzer told the jury that Ms. Powers told him Jarmack "got in first, slid across" the front seat and dragged her into the driver's seat for the trip to his home some three miles from the East Aurora parking lot where the abduction allegedly occurred.
Under questioning by the prosecution, Schmelzer denied ever seeing the bayonet murder weapon. He claimed Powers gave his son a knife as a present and he also denied telling Powers in February that his identification of the bayonet "put a nail in Nancy's coffin."
The testimony of Powers, whose credibility was challenged Friday by the defense, was cut short due to undisclosed legal issues. Court officials said he would be recalled.
A fifth day of testimony is to get under way Monday before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia. Ms. Powers is charged with intentional second-degree murder and weapons charges. The judge said the trial would recess Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.
Jailed since February, Ms. Powers, the admitted lover of Jarmack's ex-wife, Kathy Phillips, is accused of killing the 42-year-old Buffalo Sewer Authority chemist at his Town of Aurora home about 9 p.m. last Dec. 15.
Implicated in the Jarmack killing, but not charged in the case, Ms. Phillips, of Seneca Falls, is the mother of Jarmack's three daughters.
Ms. Powers is accused of sneaking into Jarmack's home, disorienting him with pepper spray, and fatally stabbing him 27 times to foil his efforts to regain custody of his three daughters from Ms. Phillips.
Powers, who remarried after his 13-year marriage to the defendant ended about two years ago, admitted that last December when he was still suspicious of the investigation of his ex-wife in the Jarmack murder, he initially fibbed about the bayonet murder weapon's carrying sheath.
Powers, a 14-year Army veteran who got the bayonet as a souvenir of his duty with the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Saudia Arabia during Desert Storm seven years ago, said he initially lied about the knife and the sheath because "she's still the mother of my kids and I do care for her somewhat."
Under questioning from prosecutor Joseph M. Mordino and defense attorney Joel L. Daniels, Powers said it wasn't until he returned from Saudia Arabia in 1992 that Ms. Powers told him she was a lesbian.
He said he tried to keep the marriage alive but it kept "going downhill" until he moved out of their Orchard Park home and their divorce got under way.
A computer equipment installer, Powers said his former wife, who he described as "not a weak woman," met Jarmack's ex-wife several years ago through a mutual interest in softball.