About 50 family members, friends, and co-workers of Kevin Powell gathered in court Jan. 11 to see his husband get sentenced to 16 years to life in prison for killing him in 2020.
Though Daniel Scott Jordan, 47, is on his way to prison, left in the wake of his actions are deep traumas and grief still experienced by people who loved Kevin Powell, 38, because of the way he was killed.
Powell was stabbed 50 times, and Jordan left a knife embedded in his chest, which was discovered by two detectives making a welfare check in his La Mesa home when he didn’t show up for work on Aug. 11, 2020.
Nearly everyone who knew Kevin and who wrote letters to El Cajon Superior Court Kathleen Lewis stated how traumatized they were over the manner of his death.
One gay man, a member of Kevin’s family, wrote about his trauma to the judge that is public record. He will be referred to by the fictitious name of Jason in this story. He read his letter out loud in court.
“I admired Kevin and Scott’s relationship. I truly believed they were the best example of how a gay couple can thrive and succeed in a bigoted and divisive world,” wrote Jason, referring to Jordan by his middle name as did others.
“It gave me a sense of security for the future. That security has been destroyed,” wrote Jason. “The pain of this loss triggers me every single day. I cannot watch movies or television that include any violence now.”
“I now find it very difficult to cook, one of my favorite things to do. Every time I see a knife, even a butter knife, I imagine the knife that was left in Kevin’s chest,” wrote Jason. “I must work on this…because I refuse to let Scott take this joy from me too.”
Jordan pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and to using a deadly weapon, a knife, in the crime. Deputy District Attorney Eva Kilamyan said Jordan will have to serve 16 actual years before he could be eligible for parole.
Some of the 20+ letters were read in open court. The letters are public record, but the identities of some of the writers are withheld because their pain is too personal.
The common experiences people noted were:
*Many who obtained counseling, and/or therapy because of depression, anxiety, which helped
*Many who received sleep aids or were prescribed tranquilizers, for anxiety, which helped
*Obsessive thoughts about how Kevin must have suffered or how long the attack took place
*Rage at Daniel Jordan for killing him
*Questions about why Jordan would kill Kevin
*Confusion about legal system
*Fear the sadness will never go away
*Some who wanted lights to remain on at night even while sleeping
Powell worked in the human resources department for the city of Chula Vista and some of his co-workers’ sent letters and appeared at the sentencing.
“I asked a therapist why was I so sad and having such a hard time getting over my grief from Kevin’s murder,” wrote a co-worker. “She said I was not only mourning the loss of the friend I knew but the loss of the friendship we would have had in the future as well.”
“Counseling helped me some in dealing with the stages of shock, disbelief, anger, rage, denial and frustration,” said the victim’s father, Randall Powell, in court.
“I remember getting the call and falling to my knees and began wailing uncontrollably,” said the victim’s mother, Diane Powell, in court. “Now his spirit lives in my heart forever!”
“I have never had to write something like this before. I have never known anyone that was murdered before, and I hope I will never have to experience this again,” wrote a co-worker.
“How long did Kevin suffer?” asked one co-worker.
“I made over 25 calls to staff to inform them that Kevin had been murdered for fear they would find out from the news in a callous and cold way,” wrote Powell’s supervisor. “I was in no way prepared how to tell all my staff, Kevin’s co-workers and friends, this information.”
“Having to write Kevin’s eulogy at my mother’s request was one of the most difficult life experiences I have ever encountered. I have shed many tears with my family thinking about the loss of Kevin,” said his older brother, Kyle Powell.
“I have also experienced fits of rage where I dreamt about have 10 minutes alone with Scott handcuffed in his jail cell. However, revenge is not mine to seek,” wrote Kyle Powell, who then quoted Romans 12:19 about revenge.
“The nine days Scott was missing were absolutely terrifying. We thought there is absolutely no way Scott, a loved member of our family, was capable of such darkness,” wrote Jason.
“It was traumatic to relive and retell the stories and details repeatedly. What’s more, many of the attorneys showed bias and made blatantly homophobic statements to myself and my family,” said Jason.
Judge Lewis told the group she read all of their letters and said “I can see and hear” their love for Powell.
“I think you should focus on his life and not on his death. Our time in life is short. He would want you to do that,” Lewis concluded.
Psychotherapist Michael Kimmel has treated clients who have been traumatized and wrote an online column in this newspaper about four steps in processing trauma and personal grief in Dec. 2022.
“We have all lived through trauma,” wrote Kimmel, who added that he was even mugged at gunpoint in Hillcrest once.
Kimmel recommends group grief therapy, which the LGBT Center has, as do other organizations. He said that he was trained to do Trauma Release Exercise, or TRE, with clients.
Kimmel recommends the book “Coming Back to Life” by Joanna Macy and Molly Brown. Kimmel, who specializes in helping LGBTQ clients, can be contacted at (619) 955-3311 or at lifebeyondtherapy.com.
Due to the horrific nature of the crime, Jordan may never be granted parole. It is possible he could be paroled in his 70s or 80s.
Lewis ordered Jordan to pay $7,500 to the state victim compensation program for funeral expenses, and $1,060 for crime scene clean-up costs. She fined him $10,070.
Jordan stood in an entrance hallway mostly out of view of the audience. His attorney, Patrick Kline, said Jordan took his advice by pleading guilty and accepting responsibility without having a preliminary hearing.
Jordan declined to make a statement to the probation department when they prepared a sentencing report which will follow him to prison. He was given credit for already serving 875 days in jail.
Jordan had fled to Nevada in his black Tesla, and then attempted suicide. He was hospitalized in Reno, and he was arrested there as authorities learned he was wanted in San Diego, where he later was extradited.