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3 killed in explosion at Josh Powell’s Graham-area home

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Feb. 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm with 120 Comments »
February 5, 2012 6:05 pm

Three bodies were recovered this evening from the Graham-area home where Josh Powell was living and where he was to have a supervised visit with his children today. The home exploded just after noon today. The three killed are believed to be Powell and his 5- and 7-year-old sons.

Peter Haley/staff photographer

Powell is a person of interest in the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox Powell.

Sheriff’s deputies, fire crews and medical aid responded just after noon today to Powell’s home in the 8100 block of 189th Street Court East near Graham. The first call to 911 about the fire came in at 12:13 p.m., Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ed Troyer said. Graham Fire arrived within three minutes, and the house was fully engulfed.

Lee Giles III/Peninsula Gateway

The Pierce County medical examiner removed the three bodies from the house around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The bodies were found together in the same room in the middle of the house, the medical examiner reported.

According to Gary Franz of Graham Fire & Rescue, Powell had a supervised visit today with his sons. A social worker brought the boys – Charlie and Braden – to the door; Powell opened the door and let the kids in, and then he shut the door, preventing the social worker from entering.

The social worker smelled gas and got away from the house. As she was making a call, the house exploded. She was banging on the doors and windows of the house as the flames spread.

The social worker is traumatized and meeting with investigators, Troyer said. She knew the boys well and had taken the boys to visits with their father several times.

According to The Associated Press, Powell’s attorney received a note from his client moments before the explosion. It read: “I’m sorry, goodbye.”

Attorney Jeffrey Bassett tells The Associated Press the email arrived at 12:05 p.m. Sunday, but he didn’t see it until two hours later, when others informed him of the blast. He says he knew Josh was upset after being ordered to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation recently, but he didn’t see this coming.

Troyer said that emails from Powell’s account also began arriving in others’ inboxes. He wasn’t specific about who was receiving the messages.

“We are getting emails from him,” Troyer said. “They lead us to believe that this is intentional, this is planned.”

Troyer said it is unknown if the children were killed before the explosion.

Powell’s older son attended Carson Elementary School in Puyallup. The younger son was not yet enrolled in school.

Steve Downing, a lawyer for the boys’ maternal grandparents, tells The Associated Press that they are beyond devastated. They always feared Josh would do something like this.

Franz said the home is now a crime scene, and the case has become a joint investigation between Graham Fire and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.

Troyer said investigators are trying to get a search warrant to go through what’s left of the house.

Neighbor Jessica Lyon, 18, said she was laying on the couch in her home when the explosion occurred. “The whole house shook. It was like an earthquake. It was huge,” Lyon said.

Lyon looked outside and saw the insulation from the house raining down.

More than 30 neighbors gathered around the scene before firefighters arrived and reported hearing two more explosions after that. There were at least three explosions total, neighbors said.

The house is nearly disintegrated, and what’s left is smoldering. Helicopters are flying overhead. A Graham fire station is about two blocks from the Powell home.

“What happened here was a deeply wrong thing. It was an act of evil. It wasn’t a tragedy,” Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said today.

“We wish he would have left the boys alone,” Troyer said. “For it to end this way makes everybody very, very sick.”

Josh Powell’s father, Steve Powell, has been notified in jail of what happened. Powell is in jail on charges related to possessing pornography.

The Puyallup neighborhood where Susan Cox Powell’s parents live – and where Josh and Susan Powell’s sons resided until their deaths – was quiet on Sunday afternoon. There were no children out playing on a sunny Sunday.

Kathy Schill, who lives down the block from the Coxes and has known them for years, said the situation was tragic. Susan Powell babysat Schill’s children, and she’s always had affection for the family.

Schill said didn’t see the boys much, but said having them living there was “a way to have a piece of Susan with them.”

Other neighbors confirmed that the boys weren’t out much, but the weather’s been bad and they’ve been in school, they said.

Staff writers Stacia Glenn, Debbie Cafazzo, Kathleen Cooper, Adam Lynn and Peter Haley contributed to this report.

This is a developing story. We will update as soon as more information is available.


Feb. 1: To regain custody, Josh Powell must have psycho-sexual exam

Sept. 28, 2011: Judge: Home where Steve Powell was arrested on porn charges is unfit for his son’s 2 children

Sept. 24, 2011: Increasingly odd Powell saga unfolds in South Sound

Sept. 13, 2011: Police search Utah desert for Susan Cox Powell

January 2010: Utah police search minivan of missing woman’s husband

Leave a comment Comments → 120
  1. Freetobe says:

    He should have NEVER been left alone with these children! Not after the discoveries of child pornography….let alone the mothers disappearance under questionable circumstances!

  2. kcwazzu says:

    This is totally messed up.

  3. sirlancealot says:

    Unsupervised visitation. Really now. With EVERYTHING that we know, and EVERYTHING that we suspect?

    Kids don’t have a chance in our system. This country is going to hell.

  4. scrubgael says:

    What a shame….once again the system let those innocent kids down. That psycho monster should have taken himself out and left the children alone. May he rot in hell.

  5. Hobbledeyhoy says:

    This is sickening.

  6. serendipity says:

    Stacey, what a gut wrenching story to write. I could never be a crime reporter. I’d have to purchase stock in Kleenex tissues. This is absolutely mortifying!

  7. reader1968 says:

    It was supervised visitation, as stated in the story above. Here is the article about the judge refusing custody and ordering continued supervised visitation:

  8. interWOLFone says:

    According to the article from King 5 News I just posted, the twice weekly visits were SUPPOSED to be supervised. Why the case worker was outside is beyond me. The News Tribune article states that the case worker was not allowed into the home. Why in HELL did the case worker allow those kids inside WITHOUT SUPERVISION??? According to the King 5 article…the two bodies found inside appear to be those of two small children, with no sign of their father, at least not yet. This is heart rending. A judge had just ruled on Wednesday that the maternal grandparents should continue having custody, but with twice weekly SUPERVISED visits with their father. And that the judge stated that before Powell’s custody request could be considered, he would have to undergo pshyco/sexual testing. Guess he’s the kind of person who might decide if he can’t have them…NOBODY can. Mayhap just as he likely decided about his wife, Susan. My deepest sympathies to Susan’s parents, who are not only bereft of their daughter, but apparently now bereft of her two little boys as well.

  9. mjcrites says:

    “Unsupervised visitation. Really now.”

    Directly quoted from the above article: “Powell had a supervised visit today with his sons.”

  10. phgregory says:

    I wonder where he is. With all the attention to the fire, he could have walked out the back door and away. For all we know he’s on a flight to Brazil right now.

  11. surething says:

    Another news headline was that he would not allow the Social Worker to come in.

  12. Jupiter25 says:

    Another example of the court system pushing a father beyond the very limits of what one can take in trying to have custody of his children. So sorry for the fate of his children if the worst has happened, but I know Pierce County Superior Court favors ANYONE but the father in these custody issues. Is Josh Powell a wonderful husband — doubt it. did he kill his wife? In our society, a man is considered innocent until proven guilty. It doesn’t sound good, but I pray the children are OK.

  13. sirlancealot says:

    I see now with these updates that it was supervised. Perhaps we can be grateful that she wasn’t killed too. when you’ve got a guy with that plan in mind, she would’t have had a chance to protect those kids –

    She will need help psychologically. Who knows what happened? I’m picturing myself in that circumstance… If I’m a supervisor, I’m dropping kids off, do I enter the home first? No, the kids are likely running past me and they go in and I follow. But if his plan is to shut me out, that would be easy enough – you know she suspected something bad because she called in immediately. I feel badly for her.

    This whole thing makes me so sad and ANGRY!

  14. Well, here come the haters-of-families flocking in with their filthy comments.

    The sins of the father are not the sins of the son. Son had nothing to do with porn. The judge has a history of taking children away from fathers and NEVER giving them back. She should be removed from the bench over this if the cops say he did it as a murder/suicide. The blood is totally on her filthy hands.

    By the way, to all the fools commenting about how the kids should have been taken/kept away – we have the rule of law in this country which means if the government has no evidence then it has no legal power to intrude into a family. Of course, around here we destroy normal families and then create fake families.

    I detest progressive thinking.

  15. lovethemountains says:

    Jupiter25, give me a break!

  16. leehallfae says:

    Oh, no, no, no. :(

  17. tommy98466 says:

    Who was the Judge that allowed these supervised visits? These children should have NEVER been left with this guy. Supervised or not. OK TNT. Get on this one. Its time to make some changes at the judiciary. This is really pathetic.

  18. ManuelMartini says:

    “Powell had a supervised visit today”

    “Unsupervised visitation. Really now. With EVERYTHING that we know, and EVERYTHING that we suspect?”

    READ. He shut the caseworker from entering the house.

  19. reader1968 says:

    Of course the father’s-rightsers are here with their comments — apparently it’s the judge’s fault that Josh Powell killed his kids. Good to know. I’m sure you guys make GREAT parents, teaching personal responsibility lessons like that.

  20. What I want to know is how many of these guilty-until-proven-innocent commenters have children of their own and how would they react if those kids were taken even though they didn’t do anything wrong and WERE NOT ACCUSED OF ANY WRONGDOING.

    I am dismayed at how many un-American people live in this area.

  21. My dear God,
    These precious boys lost their mother, and now their father has murdered them, and Still people will defend him?
    Sorry, but a father who loves his children doesn’t kill them because of a custody dispute.
    My prayers for the Cox family.
    The judge did her best to keep these boys safe from this monster. I’m so sorry it wasn’t enough.

  22. reader1968 says:

    So, pgroup, if they were taken away, you would kill them? I’m thinking it through… my children… taken away… not my fault… supervised visits… feeling pretty unhappy, but yah, still not killing anyone. Especially children. I guess your values are different.

  23. megb –

    Nobody is defending him. Speaking for myself, I am attacking a feminazi in black robes who hates fathers. There was no custody dispute – it was an unconstitutional kidnapping under color of law.

    The judge needs to go fast. She is directly responsible for three deaths. Don’t waste your time telling me how wrong I am because this is not the first time she has done this to an innocent man that she knew was innocent.

  24. pazzo242 says:

    So many of you want to point a finger at the “system”. HE is the one who slammed the door in the face of the worker–how do you think that person feels right now? HE is the one who killed his kids. HE is the one who killed his wife. It was not the judge nor the system; it was HIM and only HIM. A good father doesn’t kill his kids no matter what the rules of the “system” are. He tries his best and makes sure the kids know he loves them. Powell is the one all you second guesser should be demonizing, not the judge, not the social worker or the system. I feel so sorry for the worker who was witness to this murder.

    All you who have never been there so go back to you safe computer and reflect for a moment on your pathetic narrow minds and have some sympathy for the poor social worker who was doing their job and now will suffer from witnessing this unnecessary and pathetic event by a coward.

  25. sirlancealot says:

    Wow. You can justify a father’s behavior, saying we haven’t been in his shoes?

    On what planet can you justify this? and if this isn’t murder suicide, what else COULD it be?

  26. bgtown49 says:

    This is so sad. Who knows thew truth. Just makes spending the day with my grandbibies that more special. R.I.P.

  27. reader1968 says:

    Just checking… are you sure you want Josh Powell as a figurehead for fathers’ rights? Thinking you might want to be picking someone else right about now. Also being a good dad means teaching personal responsibility for your own actions, not blaming others. Hello?

  28. Jupiter25 says:

    We are not defending the father. All one had to do was to look at the photo of him at the last court hearing to see that he was drained. He is personnally respnsible, but he was pushed over the edge by a court system that puts fathers on the defensive almost from the start of a custody investigation. there is no need for me to review my case that happened many years ago. Suffice to say that things came out that supported all of my contentions about my child’s mother. However, I have never been demonized, before or since, as I was by her attorney and I have never had someone appear to be so one-sided as I saw in the judge who presided.

  29. No reader1968, it’s not my values that are different. My values are fine and so is the constitution. This judge is evil because Josh Powell not only was not accused of his wife’s disappearance but he also had nothing to do with his father’s porn.

    This is about a government agent who behaves like an empress. And now she’s gotten people killed. There have been no allegations of any mistreatment by the father against his children. That’s a legal reality that is supposed to protect Josh Powell from arbitrary knight-errant activities of government agents. It has nothing to do with values.

    Also, what I might hypothesize if I were in his place is irrelevant. We do not know what his mental state is or how much abuse he can withstand. I do not know how much abuse I can withstand.

    Sit down and pray for the souls of those we lost. Do not let your mind get twisted off of the reality that this judge stole his children because she is certain in his mind that Josh killed his wife.

    According to her, we don’t need no stinking trial, we don’t need no stinking evidence, we just need the feminist hatred for men to be in the gut. Then we can assassinate the souls of fathers because of their genitalia.

    And sleep just fine at night.

  30. Jupiter25 says:

    Josh Powell is the guilty party and the one responsible, but the court system is not without fault in this case.

  31. reader1968 says:

    That is a reasonable comment and I am very sorry for what happened to you. However if I were the judge right now I would be wishing that I hadn’t even allowed supervised visitation. I would absolutely not be wishing I had allowed Josh Powell more time with his kids.

  32. ssusan372 says:

    Oh how we need to keep the Cox family lifted up in our prayers.
    To have lost your daughter, and now her children as well… To have questions remaining unanswered about their deaths, to have your private pain, grief, disbelief, and outrage all played out in the public arena… it is gut-wrenching!
    Even Josh’s father must have unspeakable pain here too.
    How we feel about a person’s behavior does not mean they do not also grieve.

    This is not a time to tear each other to pieces, but to look carefully at how we address the issues being exposed.

    We need to pray for our judges, leaders etc, for increased WISDOM and Common Sense. Pray so we may all live peaceful lives.

    How can we step into this process and help?

  33. reader1968 says:

    Sorry my last comment was in response to Jupiter’s earlier comment. I still don’t understand pgroup and I’m sure I never will.

  34. Jupiter25 says:

    Thak you reader1968.

  35. ReadNLearn says:

    The social worker is traumatized?

    She should be. She did worse than do nothing, she delivered childrend to be killed and evidently figured it out quickly enough to save her own butt.


  36. reader1968 says: I still don’t understand pgroup and I’m sure I never will.

    You don’t have to understand me. Just know that when you are the victim of judicial abuse or other mistreatment by government agents, I will defend you and I won’t ask you to think like me before I do.

    Nothing to understand except the constitution.

  37. sirlancealot says:

    Yes ssusan, what can we do? Powerlessness makes me edgy and angry. Action is empowering.

  38. “Powell opened the door and let the kids in, and then he shut the door, preventing the social worker from entering.”

  39. dmanlyr says:

    Until now – what was Josh Powell guilty of – NOTHING. Make that NOTHING PERIOD! That Judge had NO right to take his children away. Until NOW. I am not saying this is in anyway acceptable behaviour, but if you illegally push people too far, they can and will snap. Perhaps the judge should be removed from office for NOT upholding the LAW and given a mental eval.

    What a bunch of BS. Two more innocent lives lost for NO reason.

    On a side note, why exactly were the boys mother’s grandparents given custody of the boys when it was a FACT that until now Josh Powell was innocent!?! I hope they sleep well at night.

    Againg, what a bunch of BS, to more innocent victums lost….

  40. willzhunnie says:

    My heartfelt feelings to the remaining family members and the social worker who experienced this tragedy! We can only speculate what Josh was feeling…and what made him decide this was the only way to make deal with the situation…Let’s not make fools of ourselves assuming we know what was going on in his mind at that moment!!

  41. Hobbledeyhoy says:

    Shakespeare or Aeschylus couldn’t have wrote a more tragic tragedy than this.

  42. ReadNLearn says:

    How does one do a ‘supervised visit’ by letting the children go in and not going in? What sort of security mindedness is that? One caring for children would first go in, to ascertain whether the location is safe, with the children behind her. Did she get any training? Not CHILD PROTECTIVE Services, but rather VICTIM DELIVERY Services.

  43. skippythedog says:

    The system was working as well as it could. He just found a way to beat it…..again.

  44. Anniegoose says:

    please remember everyone — josh powell refused to let the social worker in! she would have been there for the supervised visit, otherwise.

    in future — i think supervised visits should be done somewhere in the courtroom building, rather than in private homes.

  45. skippythedog says:

    There will be some changes; Whether or not he killed his wife, he was under quite a number of stressors as the primary suspect, his fathers situation etc. In the future, judges will take stressors like this into account and order that all visitation take place in a neutral place, an environment not under the control of that parent.
    It is difficult for sane, normal, rational people to take every eventuality into account that dirtbags like this may conjure up. No one should be blamed for this except Josh himself.

  46. SeaShele says:

    pgroup: The man just murdered his children and you’re ragging on the judge because she took away custody? Give me a freaking break. Not only did he prove over and over again he wasn’t fit to have custody and was being required to have a psych evaluation, he MURDERED his children. That does not fall under the category of being a fit parent. What she should have done is remove custody and prevent any visitation except for in public places with police presence. He had the death trap set up in advance with them coming to his home. He sent out an e-mail apologizing to his attorney ahead of blowing the kids up. Not the Cox family who has lost three family members by his hand, but his attorney. There is NOTHING wrong with the judge taking away custody with this guy’s history.

  47. popcone says:

    All my thoughts and prayers go out to the Cox family, and also to the social worker who was prevented from entering the house, because I am sure her heart is breaking for those children, just as ours should be.

  48. armywife253 says:

    The case worker should be fired. She never should have let them go in the house alone! Our justice system does not work! Another child that they failed!

  49. armywife253 says:

    pgroup is annoying and pathetic!

  50. There must have been signs that that father was unstable. As long as there was even a suspicion that he was involved in his wife’s disappearance he should not have been allowed access to the children inside his home. I feel very sorry for that social worker. Maybe he had her convinced that he was a caring father or they wouldn’t have allowed him to have them in his home. No matter what criticisms are leveled at others in this case he was the one who took the children’s lives.

  51. Sad. Those 2 boys deserved better. Rest in peace.

    Maybe now Steven will tell us where Susan is.

  52. ctdrules says:

    What a coward.

  53. Obviously a whole lot more to this story that I hope remains private for the entire family’s sake. I pray for the young lives that were taken and all others who this will impact this directly, indirectly and in the future (like families who are also experiencing custody issues).

    Time for the State of Washington to really think about the quantified “system” it has created. No one wins, it seems. The welfare of the child(ren) should be the paramount concern and goal.

    There is much fault to be passed around. We should all work to fix it.

  54. PositiveNews says:

    My most hearfelt sympathy to Susan’s family. What a horrible tragedy. My prayers are with your family.

  55. mjcrites says:

    Wow, some commenters must not have read the article…

    Sounds to me like had the social worker gone in the house with the kids there would have been 4 dead people instead of three.

  56. headshaker says:

    Maybe we should retire the “creep of the year” trophy after it is awarded to this guy

  57. Tragic, but inevitable given Pierce County is in the business of trampling on civil rights.

    PEOPLE-there is no evidence that Josh Poiwell had anything to do with his wife’s disappearance.

    Just like the other famous Utah case of Elizabeth Smart, police were quick to jump on the wrong person. In fact, he died in police custody under the accusation. Years later, Elizabeth was found and the actual suspects were arrested.

    Josh suffered from the baseless accusation and he was punished by removing his children. What would you expect to happen?

    His father sits in jail on charges that the Prosecutor has openly admitted are unconstitutional and now he has lost his entire family.

    Pierce County no longer recognizes civil rights and so what we are seeing are citizens who are prepared to fight back.

  58. @ pgroup,
    Are you friends with this POS ? I hope his POS father does the taxpayers of this state a favor and hangs himself, that way they can be togther in HELL, where they belong.

  59. Now that Josh is gone, Pierce County will extract their pound of flesh vengence from the jailed father as they did with the Clemmons case.

  60. ginahopk says:

    Please! Let this be a big message to judges all over the country. When a man is suspect in his wifes murder, DO NOT LET HIM HAVE THE KIDS,EVER!!! What good will a supervisor be? She is lucky he didn’t kill her too. I’m heartsick for the grandparents.

  61. pgroup, I so agree with you. Pierce County, under the leadership of the Prosecutor Mark Lindquist, has successfully trampled the civil rights of the accused that so many americans have fought and died to defend.

    It is no longer a matter of proof, just swing the courtroom doors open as the judge states “bring that next guilty person in here”.

    When a man does not see justice, he will make his own. Josh did that today and Pierce County is to blame!

  62. ginahopk says:

    Why didn’t he just kill himself? Why kill the children? This is PURE EVIL.

  63. ginahopk. Sorry, I disagree with you. You are seeking to mask the tragedy which was created by a faulty legal system that accused the man of a crime without proof. Removing one’s children is the greatest punishment that a person could face. Doing so without cause drove Josh over the edge. If you want to place blame, place it on that wacky Prosecutor’s office who: 1-opening stated that Josh’es father was being unconstitutionally held and still kept him in custody, 2-Prosecuted an elected judge for a minot consensual sex act with another man (Judge Heckt), Prosecuted a man who ran a home shelter for men in need of housing (Edgewood), adopted a policy of keeping people in jail without trial that far exceeds the state standards in hopes that it will wear them down into a plea deal. At the ballot box, remember this and vote for those who represent the constitution for EVERYONE.

  64. I just heard that the father was placed on suicide watch. What that means is that he was stripped naked and placed in an all glass see through room where the lights are never turned off, no matress-only a feces covered concrete slab, and in view of other inmates and guards, male and female.

    Food is thrown in like an animal and guards aim to make it land on the feces left behind from other former cell inmates. No toilet paper is given so use of your hand is the best you can do.

    I’m sure this tretament is theraputic for Mr. Powell given he has just lost his house and his entire family.

    Pierce County makes me puke. A federal investigation should be started against the Prosecutors Office and the conduct of the jail.

  65. JimmyTheGeek says:

    Josh’s dad must be so proud.

  66. ReadNLearn: Don’t worry, the Cox family will quickly figure this out and their greedy butts will sue the state. They should feel ashamed of themselves. Separating a father from his children without cause, they contributed to this tragedy.

  67. cclngthr says:

    Don’t you think the evidence shows Powell is a person of interest, and knows more than he is saying? Why would someone of sane mind would take 2 young kids on a CAMPING trip in December at the same time his wife was reported missing?

    Also, don’t you think it appropriate to remove kids when questionable acts in Steve Powell’s home was discovered; or do you think posession of child pornography is a normal thing?

    CPS uses a RISK ASSESSMENT, and that asks caseworkers to answer specific questions on the family situation. Too many red flags come up with Josh Powell and how well he acts regarding the disappearance and the lifestyle of his household. I also think he knew of the child pornography and other questionable issues CPS was concerned with.

  68. Yawn-now the makeshift memorial will begin as deputies guard it as a sign of sympathy. My question, where were those people when Josh was having his civil rights trampled on? Maybe had they been out yelling about that this never would had happened.

  69. I appreciate the adverse comments as they prove to me how far we have fallen from the former glory of America. I presume that you are all decent people but what you fail to understand is that just because you are decent doesn’t make you right.

    The liberals/leftists have taught you that the government has a superior position in relation to individuals. The constitution says otherwise. And I promise you there is plenty of guilt to apportion here – the judge is the primary culprit but the prosecutor and whoever filed the dependency action are the ones who started this tragedy.

    If you wish to have a discussion of this situation, I’m up for that. I only ask that those of you who think I’m wrong in any of my comments talk to an attorney first and see what he/she thinks. Or call your local ACLU attorney.

    Just to put more salt on this wound – prepare yourselves for damage claims from the maternal grandparents AND Josh’s father. We aren’t talking chump change here – I predict that this whole sad affair will cost Pierce County and the state millions of dollars. And that’s if they settle.

    If the federal Department of Justice can get off its butt and do its job instead of running guns into Mexico, our prosecutor could easily find himself criminally charged with violating civil rights. If I was the attorney whose name is on the dependency filing, I wouldn’t relax because he/she could be right alongside our prosecutor as a defendant.

    Calling this guy a murderer or saying he was responsible for his wife’s disappearance is emotionally satisfying but it also provides a place for despicable actors to hide. Go educate yourselves and if you still want to confront me, tell the Trib and it will happen.

  70. All the nonsense about calling 911. You have to take care of
    yourself, even children, or no one will defend you.
    I don’t particularly like to say that at all.

  71. ccingthr: it does not matter what we think, it is what proof the prosecution has. So far they have not presented anything yet they jumped on the bandwagon with Utah authorities without question and conducting their own independant investigation.

    People do odd things but it does not make them guilty of a crime. In the Utah Smart case, they acussed a ex-convict handyman the Smart’s had hired to work around their house. While it was ok to explore the posibilities, it was not ok to jail him on what turned out to be trumped-up evidence that he stole property from a garage when in fact the Smarts discarded it as trash.

    Richard Ricci was jailed under false accusations and passed away in a cell from a stroke brought on by the false criminal claim. The Smart family never apologised to his widor who has sued the State and later settled the claim.

    Why did child welfare become involved in the Powell case? He did nothing wrong according to the evidence. They became involved because of the greedy Cox family who sought to punish him without proof that he committed a crime against their daughter.

    As far as the Grandfather goes, yes he did most likely did do something that was wrong, but how does that relate to Josh? Also it is likely that the father has a claim of civil rights violations and a writ of habeas corpus for his continued incarceration.

  72. pgroup, think this is bad? In the Edgewood case I cited, the cops took a man’s medical social security money during a raid on his house to see if he was allowing homeless people to stay.

    They later defied a judges order to immediately return the money because the man looked so sick and needed medication. Weeks later the man died from no medication leaving his domestic partner of 32 years so devastated, that he is uHe also has evidence that the cop fabricated evidence.nder pyschological and psychiactric treatment at state expense.

    I am really surprised that the man has not filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit even though I have encouraged him to do so but then again, he has a lot of time to do this.

  73. jackchevalier says:

    Umm…what? This guy just murdered his own children & some of these comments are blaming the system? So…I am to be persuaded that the system drove this man to commit such a heinous act? The system drove this man to murder his own children? That has to be one of those most absurd arguments I have ever read in the TNT comments. NOTHING, short of complete lunacy, pure evil, or extreme selfishness drives a parent to murder their own children. Please do not make excuses for this man’s actions because of restrictions & “stress” placed on him by the system. We’d like to think that Josh wanted custody of his children because he loved them so much, well…if he really loved them, he wouldn’t have murdered them. His act was selfish. He knew the system was attacking him, & if he was going to go down, then he was going to take the children with him. But should this really come as a surprise? I think most of us are pretty sure he killed his own wife, even if there’s no proof (yet), and if he was crazy enough to kill his own wife, then of course he’s crazy enough to kill his own children.

  74. I just refreshed the page and noticed that Steve Downing had something to say about his clients. I’d advise him to start saying ‘no comment’ in the future and to tell reporters to talk to his clients directly since there is no live court case any more.

  75. I am speechless and have no appropriate words except that I send my deepest heartfelt condolences to the Cox family. I cannot imagine what they are going through at this time. I’m going to go hold my kids now…

  76. Pierce County sheriff’s Office NEW procedures and meanings:

    Vigil at crime site: they feel guilt for playing a part which led to the tragedy.

    Retaliation: whenever one of their own is attacked, set an example by harsh and punishing encounters with all they encounter to show “them”

    Save a life: hardly, it is easier to sniper the suspect than try to reason with him and spare his life. Saves on cop overtime too.

    Go after the easy minor crimes. Then your production numbers will look better to voters.

    Scare the public into believing that a cop is needed on every corner because crime is so bad.

    Don’t allow citizens to steal your thunder by offering information that could help solve a crime, at least if you have to write it in your report.

    Depression? Don’t call a cop-they will kill you to stop your suicide.

    Always make your job appear as dangerous to the public even when facts state that other occupations are much more dangerous.

    Major crime such as today: always have the sheriff make a personal appearance on scene to perform before the camera’s but be careful not to disclose your conduct which led to the event.

    Is it no wonder why cops are not respected today?

  77. Regardless of what you think happened to Susan Powell, a dependency petition was filed as a result of child porn having been found in the Powell home. The children were removed for that reason. Supervised visitation? Sure. At the home? No. ChildHaven and other agencies exist for this very purpose: a neutral and safe environment for visitation. Don’t blame the social worker. Blame the court for putting the children in that home. This is beyond sad. My heart breaks for the children and the Cox family.

  78. MisterZ says:

    Its amazing how many people dont read the article before commenting. I will say the whole situation is a bit awkward, and this latest turn of events does say something in regards to what a person could possibly do. If you can murder your own children, those you fought to protect, in a faming inferno, i dont think its totally out of the realm of possiblity that you could murder your own wife. While we will never know what happend now, we can be assured the family has been sadly reunited. The rest of the case is almost a circus of various Law Enforcement agencies trying to save face and get some kind of prosicution, in the lack of substancial evidence tying anyone to this crime. A couple of incidental charges found while serving search warrents, and putting someone through enough hoops to cause them greif to crack probally was good enough to help them earn re-election.

  79. jackchevalier: YOU SAID IT “lunacy”. There is no rational reason when a person is driven to the point of lunacy. What is done is done but we can prevent a future tragedy by what we do to change the system today.

    I guess we could say that Josh took his children with him because he did not want them left behind as tortured in the world. This is much the same rational reasoning as to why only one parent will fly at a time unless the entire family is flying (so that one parent will remain to raise the children or the family dies as one if tragedy strikes the plane).

    Only God can judge his act and if you believe in the words of the bible, his judgment will be harsh and maybe unforgivable. You mention that most of us know he killed his wife. You base that statement on????

    Not to far back I remember another case of a 40 year old single man who lived with his mother on a dead end street. A young girl went missing and because he fit what some people assumed a pedophile would be like, he was arrested. Later the girl returned home as she had just wondered away.

    What have we become in this society when constitutional rights no longer matter?

  80. Constitutional rights do matter. I said so. The constitution says I have the authority. I am part of the people.

  81. Oppie: yes, porn was found but there is no evidence that the children nor Josh knew of it or had access to it. Because our dumbass prosecutor made a statement about the unconstitutional hold on Steve Powell, he is most likely to walk away from any charges and to receive a hefty lawsuit award.

    MisterZ: I actually like your comment. As you so to speak stated, it is not about justice and the constitution, it is about law enforcement production numbers which could lead to re-election.

    Did you know that the Federal government pays a hefty fee to the jail for each inmate incarcerated-twice a day? So keeping people locked up for even minor crimes will produce a profit at taxpayer expense.

  82. jackchevalier says:

    Woho, please read more carefully…I did not say “most of us know”, I said “I think most of us are pretty sure…” that Powell killed his wife. I think it is the extremely peculiar details & evidence surrounding the case that persuade most people that he is guilty. For me, it was Josh’s refusal to cooperate with police that make me think he is/was guilty. What kind of man doesn’t want to help find out what happened to his wife? & now that he has killed his children, we know that Powell had it in him to commit murder.

  83. jackchevalier: I respect your comment however this is america and we should be free to believe as we wish but that does not give us a right to act on it. Josh was punished by taking his children away without PROOF that he was involved in a crime. SHAME on Pierce County, SHAME on CPS, SHAME on the Cox family. When you are on a jury, you get to decide if your personal feeling equate to guilt but Josh was never given that opportunity.

    Refusal to cooperate with the police without a lawyer present shows that he is a wise man. Police often twist the facts to create the evidence instead of allowing the facts to lead to the evidence.

    I personally believe that starting grade 10, students should be taught their constitutional rights and how to deal with police contacts because we can no longer trust the motives of law enforcement.

  84. bobcat1a says:

    Well mr pgroup, “what you fail to understand is that just because you are decent doesn’t make you right.” Right back atya. And your comments call into question the “decent” part; you appear to be another of the blind government haters. The majority of us chose our government and though it may not be perfect it beats the heck out of any other that’s been tried; you apparently can’t stand the thought that everyone doesn’t agree with you about it…grow up, you don’t get to win every time.

  85. jackchevalier says:

    Likewise, Woho, I can respect your reply. Your argument is more well crafted than pgroup’s. However, I just cannot swallow that the system drove Josh to a point of lunacy where he would murder his own children. The act simply seems too radical. I cannot see that the restrictions imposed by the system were severe enough to incite such a radical & deadly reaction. It doesn’t add up to me. I just hope authorities can discover the truth about Susan. That will put to rest everyone’s speculation.

  86. bobcat1a says:

    woho, you said “I personally believe that starting grade 10, students should be taught their constitutional rights and how to deal with police contacts.” Well, they are taught, except starting in the 8th grade rather than 10th. And I can assure you that the police and judges and lawyers know the law far better than most adults and understand it far better than you appear to.

  87. bobcat1a: yes, I am a law dumbass but I make no claims to being an expert-lol. What I do claim to is my right to constitutional protections which can only be gained if the legal system also believes the same. In Pierce County, the constitution is as good as toilet paper, except for a few good judges.

  88. The system did not make him “snap”. NO REASONABLY SANE person would ever be pushed to the point of murdering their children! He just couldn’t hide the fact that he was/ is a murdering psychopath any longer! Its all about HIM. If my spouse went “missing”, I would not give up on them and sell the house and move to another state within the month they disappeared because of “stress”. I would die a thousand times in fire before I would let my children die. Any sane parent would. Only a psychopath would be “pushed” to that point. I have the deepest condolences for the Cox’s. I also cannot imagine what that poor social worker is going through right now.

  89. Frida: your comment contradicts itself. You said “NO REASONABLY SANE person would ever be pushed to the point of murdering their children!”. Essentially you said that he is insane and not capable of knowing right from wrong. Sorry, he does not fit the definition of a psychopath so therefore it was an insane act.

    I feel for the social worker but the Cox family should have used the wisdom of solomon so it is hard to feel anything for them.

  90. Okay bobcat1a, I’ll put you on the pgroup disapproval list. Do you want to be notified when I have something more to say? Or have you decided that anything I say is wrong?

    Save this thread so you can be sure of exactly what everybody has said. Especially your comments. We wouldn’t want to have to guess at what was said and by whom.

  91. For all of you here who choose not to be a guardian of the constitution, please read and remember this famous poem I personally will never forget:

    “In Germany they came first for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

    — by Martin Niemöller, prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and Lutheran pastor

  92. Thank you, Woho. I don’t completely agree with everything you’re saying, but the first thing that struck me about this horrible story is how immediately everyone jumps on this so called ‘monster’ and a ways back there you pointed out what an incredibly unjust witch hunt this had become.

    Facebook has lit up with outraged mothers unable to see beyond the very last act, which has horribly ended in the deaths of two young children.

    Nobody seems able to comprehend that this was also possibly a person pushed beyond reasonable constraints and simply couldn’t continue. He was having his children taken away amid a custody battle with his dead wife’s parents? Jesus…

    Personally I wouldn’t and couldn’t cause any harm to my children, but you try to take them away from me? You’re going to see some very very unusual behavior that doesn’t fit in with societies niceties, I can tell you.

    This whole thing stinks of poor understanding and red tape nonsense.
    Sentenced way, way before a trial.

  93. igottasayit says:

    Congratulations Steven Powell…the fruit of your works is borne.

    Now, just this once, please take the high road and join your son in flames so that this unending tragedy can end on a positive note.

    And to the two little innocents… may you rest in peace. I am so sorry we didn’t do better.

  94. I have hard time believing the authorities didn’t see this coming. So much for erring on the side of caution. Oh well, guess the Mormons can add 3 more to their rolls in the kingdom eh?

    Someone should have prevented this…


  96. I feel sorry for all three of them. I think the father had just had enough dealing with the police, courts, and grandparents. And the grandparents were planting seeds in the poor children’s minds about what had happened to their mother. May they all rest in peace. I believe they are all now in a better place. God bless their souls.

  97. Reason_enemy_of_faith says:

    The wackos are out in force tonight. This man killed his wife. Then, this man killed his children. There is no possible way for anyone to justify or excuse his sociopathic homicidal violence.

    The judge was as restrictive as she could be until he was actually charged with murder. If the judge would have given his children back, she would have been criticized as much or more. Tragically, it turns out she was absolutely correct, but the Constitution prevented her from blocking him from all contact. She could only order professionally supervised visitation. It’s a good thing the supervisor did not make it in the house or she would be dead too.

    Most, if not all, of the judges in Pierce County are married and have children and grandchildren of their own. Many have been through divorces and/or have children who have gone through divorces with the grandchildren.

    The law favors the children–not mothers–not fathers. And, the law says that both parents must have substantial time with the children unless there exist factors making them unfit or unsafe.

    What judges are corrupt? Name names and state case numbers or keep your mouth shut. And, if you’re wrong, be prepared to be sued for libel.

  98. Well, DrSyn, you’re right – someone should have prevented this. Maybe by following the constitution and common sense.

    There was no evidence with which he could be charged with his wife’s possible murder. There was no evidence that he had anything to do with his father’s porn. In other words, he is an innocent man in the eyes of the law.

    Actually, the deputy sheriffs who arrested his father and the deputy prosecutor who charged him also exonerated Josh Powell since if he was suspected of any involvement they would have arrested him as well.

    So they took his kids because they believed Josh was getting away with something. Those are the people who could have prevented this by obeying the law and the constitution. The judge could have been a hero by dismissing the obviously phony dependency case – instead she followed her man-hating feminist attitude which says that males are guilty because they are males.

    the judge could have prevented this but she chose to cause it.

    How do we know who caused this (not who did it but who made it possible)? We use our brains. The mother has been missing since December 2009. That’s over 2 years during which time the children were fine and nobody made any complaint concerning them.

    Contrary to Sheriff Pastor’s self-serving CYA comments, this is a tragedy. He cannot call it a legal act because the suspected perpetrator is deceased which means he died innocent. Murder cannot be proved without a live defendant but Sheriff Pastor is pretending he doesn’t know that. What he is doing is trying to make an affirmative defense from the inevitable lawsuit for false arrest, false prosecution, false imprisonment, and wrongful death.

    Lots of people could have prevented this by obeying the law they are sworn to uphold.

  99. yabetchya says:

    MM I so agree with you ! HE SHUT THE DOOR IN THE CASE WORKERS FACE, SHE IS NOT A POLICE OFFICER, SHE DID EXACTLY WHAT SHE WAS SUPPOSE TO DO..CALL IT IN ( sorry about the menopaws moment)For all the Scott proteam, well…two little boys who could of been great men, by the report was just snuffed out…unless this deranged man killed three, and took off.

  100. Reason_enemy_of_fa:

    Murder can never be justifed but we can try to understand how it got to that point to prevent a future incident.

    I won’t name the “unconstitutional” judges but the judges I regard as respectful of the constitution are; Culpepper, Cuthbertson, Murphy. There are more but these are the one’s I am most familiar with.

    In a democracy, sometimes the truly guilty go free but that is a small price to pay for freedom.

  101. Yes, they could have been great men. Like Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton said when Lincoln died, “Now he belongs to the ages.”

    Now they belong to the ages too.

  102. yabetchya says:

    I think with some of the comments,,,until we can be confirmed that Josh is dead.. He may be posting on here.

  103. Josh could be posting from the grave. Stranger things have happened on these websites before.

  104. yabetchya says:

    TPatina, so you are saying that David Brain maybe had the right to do what he did because…. What a dip $hit you are. Sorry about speaking my truth, but you are to far out there, that kicking you to the curb would not be far enough.

  105. yabetchya says:

    Maybe daddy and gramps auctioned the boys off to NAMBLA. Sick family values going on there.

  106. yabetchya says:

    For all of you blaming the system for giving an excuse for Josh to murder his wife (?)now children. Are you also saying he was unstable unhinged killer, maybe a perv like dear old dad?

  107. yabetchya says:

    TPatina, you are sick.

  108. I don’t dispute that, yabetchya. Sick just like you and everyone else that is posting on this website on a late Sunday evening. Nobody must have anything more productive to do than comment on this tragedy and judge everyone involved with it in any way. That alone says a lot about society and also goes a long way toward explaining why tragedies like this occur in the first place.

  109. yabetchya says:

    Dispute all you want TP, You comment about the late night Sunday post, yet you are here defending ?(what) What do have to contribute, or how can you be more productive, beside contrubiting your bias to this tragedy.
    It was Josh
    A Man ( I am being kind), Father, a Husband’s choice. Too weak, too insecure, too selfish.

  110. And now…. Too dead. Too very dead.

  111. stopthewaronfamilies says:

    Judicial Performance Evaluation
    Page 178
    Attorney Comments
    If you believe the Judge acted with favor or disfavor to anyone based upon personal
    characteristics such as those listed above, please list the characteristic(s) giving rise to your
    • Concerned about court’s potential bias toward counsel or parties who are not from Pierce
    • I have never appeared before a more biased Judge in my practice, EVER. She fails to
    follow the civil and local rules as towards NON-PIERCE COUNTY ATTORNEYS.
    SHE IS EXTREMELY ‘ethnocentric’ in application of the rules–or lack thereof.
    Removal from the bench should be instituted immediately. Currently, it is as if NO
    JUDGE is sitting on the bench. It is an obliteration of the justice system to have her
    sitting on the bench. Your county, your community should be embarrassed.
    • Socioeconomic status
    • Judge Nelson’s biases flow toward the status of a party as either plaintiff or defendant.
    She is especially poor at treating physicians with respect.
    • She doesn’t allow counsel to argue their cases; she makes faces (rolls eyes, shakes head,
    makes heavy sighs); insults counsel; is demeaning to counsel; gives the appearance of not
    having read the briefs; she appears to not understand the law or the issues before her.
    General Comments
    • Judge Nelson has one of the best judicial demeanors. Her professionalism is much
    • She has FAILED to perform. Absolutely no knowledge, understanding of the civil or
    local rules. She has failed in each instance I’ve appeared before her to be ethical, openminded,
    non-biased, and carry out justice in a fair manner. Bottom-line: she has failed to
    do her job in an exponential manner.
    • Judge Nelson has grown into a very good judge. I would pick her court room over many
    of the judge’s in the building. It appears she has a better grasp of the evidence rules,
    however, than case law when it comes to her decisions.
    • Judge Nelson lacks a full understanding and comprehension of the evidence rules. She
    can be very rude and condescending towards attorneys at times.
    • She doesn’t know the law. She doesn’t apply the law. She treats people like they are in the
    second grade. She does whatever she thinks is fair even when it is not correct.
    Pierce County Superior Court
    Judicial Performance Evaluation
    Page 179
    • Judge Nelson’s performance is spotty but fundamentally exhibits a poor grasp of legal
    principles and an inability to reason through to the correct answer.
    • I enjoy appearing in Judge Nelson’s Court. She is always well prepared and has read both
    parties’ materials. She makes prompt legally sound decisions and runs her calendar
    • Judge Nelson is pleasant, professional, attentive, and compssionate.
    • My experience is limited to one multi-party case and my motion for summary judgment
    (granted) rather than through trial. I hope my comments are useful.
    • I was impressed. She ran a tight and fair ship.
    • She demonstrates great common sense and patience with parties and attorneys.
    • At one point during oral arguments on the motion calendar, it was obvious that Judge
    Nelson was emailing her female colleagues on the bench, inquiring about their lunch
    plans and then giving the information she received to her judicial assistant.
    • Judge Nelson is one of the least qualified judges on the Pierce County bench. She does
    not understand the rules of evidence. She does not appear to make efforts to educate
    herself further. She does not appear to give appropriate consideration to agreements
    made by the parties. She does not have a judicial air.
    • Judge Nelson’s behavior, in my opinion, is totally unacceptable and I consider her unfit
    for the bench. She has no self control in letting her personal feelings be known. She is
    insulting to counsel (telling me I should go back to law school) and she didn’t let either
    myself or opposing counsel argue our motions. When attorneys appear before her, she
    rolls her eyes, makes heavy sighs, makes faces, and grasps her head while on the bench.
    She appears to not understand the issues before her and she appears to not read the briefs.
    I have never felt so strongly that a judge should not be on the bench as I do so with Judge
    • The judge is just not very smart. Her rulings are inconsistent, usually favoring the
    attorney who got the last word in. On the bench she is frequently checking e-mails and/or
    looking at her laptop. She will mix her civil motion calendar with her criminal sentencing
    calendar, letting civil litigants sit through Sex Offender Sentencings and convicted felons
    sit in the jury box while civil attorneys argue their motions. It appears completely
    • I have been impressed with the improvements in Judge Nelson as a judicial officer. I can
    only surmise that this is due to a learning curve as a judicial officer.
    Pierce County Superior Court
    Judicial Performance Evaluation
    Page 180
    • Judge Nelson is an ever improving jurist. She has grown in the job and experience has
    made her better. It is actually a pleasure to appear in her court.
    • Unfortunately, while Judge Nelson is a very nice person, legal reasoning and application
    does not appear to be her strong suit.

  112. jackchevalier says:

    “Mommy was in the trunk.” Could a paranoid father take desperate measures to snuff out the truth when it became evident the boys might sing like canaries? The odds just keep stacking against this guy.

  113. jackchevalier: where do you come up with this make believe stuff?

    Your comments are all guesswork. Just as in the Elizabeth Smart case also from Utah, people said the same thing and acussed the wrong person.

    Nine months later after the guy died, the real suspects and Elizabeth were found. Not one of those nutty people making the comments came back to correct their comments.

    Again-NO-NONE-NADA evidence exists that shows that Josh had anything to do with his wife’s disappearence. For all we know, she is reading about this tragedy right now.

  114. Quite blamming the social worker. This wasn’t an unsupervised visitation. The social worker was there for a supervised visit with the father. Those little boys probably ran up the walk to the door to see their Dad and then he shut the door in the social worker’s face and locked it. From media reports she banged on the door and windows for him to let her in. Then she went back to her car to call her supervisor. She was instructed to call 911 which she did. But he already set the fire.

  115. jackchevalier says:

    See TNT Story: Attorney: Powell boy remembered mom in the trunk

    Woho, I am beginning to doubt your reading comprehension. I have not made anything up. I read info from another TNT article & presented a reasonable question. I did not state it as a fact. I should be asking YOU what your vendetta is against the judicial system. Have you been personally wronged? If you have, I am sorry about your misfortune. However, regardless if we live in a society with bad cops, a corrupt system, or dishonorable sheriff’s office….criminals still exist. Thieves will still steal & murderers will still kill. Are we to view every suspect as a victim because some people believe we have a faulty judicial system? No. Now we may not know if Josh killed his wife, but we certainly know he killed his children. Murder was in him, the question remains whether it was in him before or after his children were taken away. & as I said before…the odds are not looking good for him.

  116. jackchevalier says:

    But…if anyone wants to continue citing old stories about the wrongfully accused, I’ll bet there are many more stories about the rightfully accused. IE Gary Ridgway. How long was Gary a suspect before authorities finally had the evidence to convict him? I know it’s an almost unfathomable idea, but sometimes the primary suspect is the guilty party.

  117. supporter says:

    Jilly – Finally! a commenter who sees the errors that keep getting repeated by the media. the case worker was not a social worker. Why the media keeps saying that she is is beyond me. All of your points well taken. It was not the case workers fault, and Josh would have killed the boys no matter what but my point is (and you seem to be the only other person who see is) is that the CPS system is deceiving people by giving the public the allusion that they are receiving “social work” “skilled supervision” “skilled parenting classes” “skilled counseling” – which is what they SHOULD be providing. But what they are actually getting is some glorified babysitting. My point to the state and CPS is, if you can’t do it right , don;t do it at all. You are absolutely right, Griffin-Hall talked to the 9-1-1 operator as if he was her work supervisor not a crisis operator.
    Dang, I know money is tight but you wouldn’t go to Jiffy Lube, pay for an oil change and be happy about getting a quart short of used motor oil in your car and calling it good because “times are tough and money is short” You would expect not to be lied to so you could change your own *** oil.

  118. supporter says:

    well, I’m glad that he did not murder his boys and escape alive himself,at least 3 bodies were discovered. So, let us as a society learn something from this and make sure it does not happen in our own families and neighborhoods.

  119. supporter says:

    Is there any possibility that Josh escaped out the back, used the $7,000 he withdrew from the bank and is now enjoying himself in another country?

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