Murder Revisited: A look back at the killing of 8-year-old Jesse Powers

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The family of 8-year-old Jesse Powers is celebrating what would have been his 37th birthday. Its been almost 29 years since he was beaten and sexually abused in an abandoned boxcar in Buffalo’s Riverside neighborhood. Now the fight to keep his killer behind bars continues.

David Hinchy, 51, was sentenced to 25 years to life in 1988 for killing Jesse Powers. Now he’s up for parole. For the first time in almost 30 years, family members and neighbors revisited the site where  the murder happened.

Tom Hewett hasn’t had the strength to come back to Buffalo’s Riverside neighborhood. It is a place he says he formerly knew and loved. In the summer of 1987, after a movie night out with friends, Hewett, 16-years-old at the time, found the decomposing body of Jesse Powers in a weed-filled field.

He said, “As I saw it, I gasped for air in shock. And inhaled the whole smell of death, and everything. It was just so overwhelming.”

Powers had been missing for six days. The community had been out day and night looking for him.

Hewett said, “I ran over to my friends, they’re like, ‘You look like you saw a ghost!’ I was like, ‘It’s not funny, I did.'”

Court records show the killer, David Hinchy admitted to choking and beating powers in an abandoned boxcar. His motive: Jesse and his mom were planning to turn to police to file a sexual abuse claim against Hinchy.

Every two years, Hinchy comes up for parole. It’s something that haunts his only living relatives — his aunt, uncle and his cousin Tim Powers, who was born months after his death.

Now they’re fighting hard for that parole bid to be denied.

Sandy Powers said, “He needs to die in prison. I do not forgive him. I will forgive him the day he dies.”

David Powers said, “If he gets out, we can’t take a chance with another young persons life.”

Hinchy has been denied parole twice before, but was recently moved to a moderate security prison. The fear of his release is something that’s impacted the entire family.

Tim Powers said, “It tore through the family like a category-5 tornado.”

In 2009, Jesse’s mother, Nancy took her own life.

Sandy Powers said, “Finally, she just could not bear the thought that Jesse is not here anymore. Another lonely holiday, and she just couldn’t do it.”

On what would have been his 37th birthday, the Powers family met Tom Hewett for the first time at Jesse’s grave-site. They vowed to do anything to keep Hinchy behind bars.

They’ve started a Change.Org petition which has thousands of signatures. Neighbors write of other crimes they think Hinchy committed.

Everyone says they will come together to give Jesse a voice.  Friday, Sandy Powers will share her victim impact statement to the parole board.

She says a large group of people will be outside the hearing downtown protesting Hinchy’s release.

The formal parole board appearance will take place the week of April 4th.

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