The grandparents of Charlie and Braden Powell will testify this morning at a Senate committee hearing on a bill that would prohibit murder suspects from being granted custody of their children.
Senate Bill 5162, also called the Charlie-Braden Act, is named in honor of the boys who were killed Feb. 5, 2012, when their father struck them with a hatchet and set ablaze their rental house in Graham.
Josh Powell was in the middle of a custody battle with the boys’ grandparents, Chuck and Judy Cox, when he killed himself and his sons. The state awarded him supervised visits with Charlie and Braden although he was considered a homicide suspect by Utah police, who were investigating the 2009 disappearance of his wife, Susan Cox Powell.
The bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, would require law enforcement officers to provide information on murder suspects to the state Department of Social and Health Services if it’s pertinent to a child dependency case.
A public hearing on the bill is being held today before the Senate Law and Justice Committee.
“To me, this really seems like common sense. If the police suspect that you killed someone, you shouldn’t be granted custody,” Roach said. “It’s beyond unfortunate that this is a law that needs to exist.”