Woman Jailed After Inmate Boyfriend Dies From Meth-Laced Kiss

By Bryan Le 11/27/17

Her lawyer claims she isn’t responsible because her boyfriend mentally manipulated her to deliver the drugs in a “Svengali-type situation.”

Woman visits prisoner in jail.
She was captivated and coerced by him, argues her attorney.

An Oregon woman is being held responsible for the death of her inmate boyfriend after smuggling him meth-filled balloons with a kiss.

At the end of a prison visit last year, Melissa Ann Blair and Anthony Powell shared a kiss during which Blair transferred seven small balloons of meth from her mouth to his. Later, two of the seven balloons broke inside Powell’s stomach, poisoning him and leading to his death by methamphetamine toxicity. 

The court ruled that Blair’s actions were part of a larger conspiracy to smuggle drugs into the prison. However, it was up for debate whether she was aware of her role in the drug-smuggling conspiracy or if she was simply trying to please her boyfriend when she passed him the drugs that ultimately killed him.

"It was tragic and sad but he shares responsibility for what happened," said U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez, who presided over the case.

Powell was serving a life sentence for stabbing his mother-in-law to death. While in prison, he made friends with a woman on the outside named Brandy Pokovich. Despite the barrier that prison put between them, their friendship, maintained via letters, phone calls and some prison visits, grew strong over 12 years. 

"Now, because of the choices that were made, I no longer can pick up the phone and hear his voice, I can't go on a visit and see his big cheesy smile and get the best hug in the world," she told the judge. "He was not just an inmate. He was a very loved and cared-for person who had a family that would always be there no matter what.”

Pokovich considered herself Powell’s "sister by choice," even going so far as using social media to find Powell girlfriends on the outside. This is how Blair was introduced to Powell.

The relationship would eventually lead to the fateful kiss that ultimately led to Powell’s death. But Blair’s attorney, John Ransom, says that she should not be held responsible for Powell’s death or for the smuggling conspiracy in which she played a part. Despite being in prison, Powell allegedly manipulated Blair into smuggling the drugs.

"It was a very Svengali-type situation where he had total control over her life," Ransom argued. "She had to do whatever he said."

The judge sentenced Blair to two years in federal prison as well as three years of post-release supervision and drug treatment programs. Four other defendants involved in the conspiracy have pleaded guilty and await sentencing.

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Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter