FRONT ROYAL — An expert has been hired to determine if LSD was a factor in the March 25 fatal stabbing of Front Royal resident and 2016 James Wood High School graduate Leah Marie Adams.

Both Adams and Bailey Lincoln Powell, her boyfriend and the accused killer, took LSD at a party before the killing in Front Royal, according to toxicological tests. The $8,000 hiring was approved by Judge Clifford “Clay” Athey Jr. in Warren Circuit Court on Tuesday.

Athey also gave defense attorneys William A. “Beau” Bassler and David Hensley 14 days to say if they’ll make an insanity plea for Powell, 18, of Gore.

They could make an insanity plea under the “irresistible impulse” defense, arguing that while Powell understood the difference between right and wrong, he was overpowered by mental illness. Or they could argue that due to mental illness, Powell, charged with second-degree murder, was unable to determine right from wrong.

In July, Powell was deemed mentally competent to stand trial. The trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 12.

On the night of the stabbing, Front Royal police said the then 17-year-old Powell took four drops of LSD at a Cherrydale Avenue home with friends and became paranoid. He attempted to drive away in Adams’ car. She tried to stop him, then got in the car with him.

Witnesses said the car stopped on Kerfoot Avenue and Adams, 19, got out. She then circled around the car to the driver’s side, confronting the driver. She was stabbed before the driver drove away.

A short time later, a witness said she saw Powell, who police said cut himself in the neck with a folding knife found in the car, walking toward Shenandoah Avenue repeatedly screaming, “Kill me please!”

Police said Powell was tackled and arrested after breaking into a home at 110 S. Shenandoah Ave. Detective David Fogle said Powell first pretended he didn’t know what was happening, then said he accidentally stabbed Adams. “I spoke with Powell several times through the night and Powell advised that he had taken LSD and that he did not remember much,” Fogle said in a search warrant affidavit.

If the case goes to trial — about 95 percent of cases end in plea bargains — Athey hasn’t determined if the expert, forensic toxicologist Daniel Stephan Isenschmid, will be allowed to testify. Bassler said Isenschmid will help determine if the LSD affected Powell’s memory.

LSD, also called acid, is a psychedelic drug known for its psychological effects.

Read Wednesday’s Winchester Star for the full story.

— Contact Evan Goodenow at

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