Detective details possible motive in NKY woman’s killing

Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 4:00 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KENTON COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - A possible motive in the December death of an Independence woman came to light Wednesday in court.

Tommy Joe Powell, 55, is accused of killing 32-year-old Amberly Harris, according to Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders.

Her body was found in the bedroom of her Independence apartment she and Powell shared on Dec. 15, police said.

The police report claims Powell confessed that he’d shot Harris in the head with a shotgun during an argument days earlier but neglected to call police. Authorities say he might have lived with her body in the apartment for more than a day.

Powell faces charges of murder and domestic violence, according to court records. He is being held at the Kenton County Jail on $1 million bail.

As to a possible motive in the killing, the prosecution might have identified one.

A detective working the case said in court Wednesday that in November a $20,000 accidental death policy had been taken out in Harris’ name.

The beneficiary on that policy, Powell, the detective explained.

“A local business that sells life insurance contacted Independence police after hearing about this case on the news and informed them that Mr. Powell had just taken out a life-insurance policy on Amberly Harris one month before she was found dead,” Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders said.

Sanders says it’s the first time his office has seen this sort of development in a murder case.

“He’s a monster,” said Powell’s sister, Jessica Mann. “Like, it hurts. It’s kind of hard to grieve because I don’t know how to process it. I hurt inside.”

Mann’s husband, Mike, is similarly distraught. “No matter why it happened, it shouldn’t have happened. But to know he put thought into it... it takes a special kind of monster to do that.”

Tommy Powelll
Tommy Powelll(Kenton County Detention Center)

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.