Saturday, February 11, 2012

Josh Powell--Why?

I find any hurt done a child to be the ultimate evil.  This story is almost too difficult to write, and my mind wanders off into sick humour.

I'm sure we're all familiar with the story of Susan Powell, and the lame alibi Josh had for the night she disappeared.  Over the past two years, the story has got sicker and sicker, with Steven Powell (Susan's father-in-law) in jail for voyeurism and possession of child porn.  That last resulted in Josh getting his own house, because his children would not be allowed to visit him at his father's home.

When Josh went to court last week over the custody issue, he was told he had to submit to a psycho-sexual evaluation.  A psych eval is fairly common in custody cases, but it seems that there were images on Josh's computer that seemed more than a little "off," if you know what I mean.  He knew he could lose his visitation entirely.  Of course, there was more at stake than that.  It seems that Charlie and Braden were beginning to talk about that midnight camping trip.

Hindsight being 20/20 and all, there appear to have been miscommunication among the law enforcement agencies involved, and balls dropped all over the place.  I think we really want to find someone to blame that we can fire, and say, "There.  Now that will never happen again."  Unfortunately, it's not that simple.  I do not think anyone could have predicted that the man was cold enough to kill himself and his children.  If it were that cut and dried, of course his visitation would have been terminated or further curtailed.  As soon as this horrible murder/suicide occurred, we find quotes from Steve and Terrica's divorce papers, we find a comforter in a storage unit that tests positive for blood (don't they all?).  Who knows what new evidence will emerge?  It will probably turn out that, if all the involved agencies had shared their information better, perhaps a case could have been made to disallow visitation.

I don't think we will ever hear a motive that we can understand.  Sane people don't hurt their kids, let alone murder them in cold blood.  And the hatchet!  I can't even wrap my mind around the hatchet!  Why do that?  There's gas already poured all over the place...five gallons of it, at least (they said the second five-gallon can was still almost full), and yet he hacked at them with a hatchet!  His own little boys, only five and seven years old, and he somehow was convinced he had the right to do that to them!  No sane person will ever understand that. 

There is a rumour going around that Ann Rule is going to write the story.  I hope she does.  Then maybe I will understand.  Until then, I can only send Good Thinks to the families crippled by this crime.


  1. I had hoped that you would write about this, and I am glad you waited. All of this is so sad, with so many questions. Some of which make me sad for JOSH of all people! There are so many "I think it's possible" things going on in my head right now. Did his father have so much hold on him that he left with his kids so that his father could do away with Susan, whom he admitted he loved, and had pictures of her?

    Was he just evil on his own? From the pictures I saw he was genuinely anguished. Did he kill them for fear that they would suffer like he did? Was he broken from the beginning? HE wanted to get away from his father by all accounts.

    As for Ann Rule.. She writes a good book, but sitting next to Ted Bundy in an office doesn’t make her an expert any more than Pat Brown is an expert on anything because she thought her tenant was weird.
    I cry. For all the lives gone. Even Josh.

  2. As for Charlie and Braden starting to talk about it, I call bullshit. As much as I feel for Susan's parents I do believe those "memories" were from grilling. Charlie was 4 at the time. i.e. verbal.

  3. Where Ann Rule has gained her expertise is in years of research. Working next to Bundy only whetted her appetite, her desire to know what makes these people tick. She has made herself an expert, and is one of very few true crime writers I can read without thinking I could have done it better.

    As far as reasons...he grew up in a very male-dominated household where, according to his mother's divorce plea, the father and sons treated the mother and sister with scant respect. From the same source, Josh once threatened her with a knife, and had hit her on occasion. Steve appears to have been a dominant force in the family. One of the things Susan complained about to friends and co-workers was that Josh spent hours on the phone with his father, and was always more of a jerk after he got off the phone.

    He was a selfish clod. If he had killed his children so that they wouldn't suffer (god knows from what!), he wouldn't have taken a hatchet to them before the explosion. There had to be a lot of deep-seated rage there.

  4. As far as the possible "grilling" goes, I think the boys might have begun to speak out when removed from the toxic influence of the Powell family compound. Not discounting the possibility that their grandparents might have tried to jog their memories, but consider: it s not to the Cox's purpose to convict the wrong killer. That way, they would never find Susan's body, and that, I think, is a huge part of their focus. Even if the boys had nothing to say, Josh obviously thought they did, which nails his guilt, for me.

    1. I really agree with this. So many reports I have read say that the boys were speaking because they were getting older. But I thought it more likely that they would have been in a safe place, and out of their father's home, for an extended period of time. When I worked in a shelter, we often saw the kiddos speaking out after a few months of living in safety.

  5. I don't think that he killed them because he thought they were speaking about what may have happened. I think he killed them for the pure selfish reason of if I can't have them nobody will. And I do believe that he thought he couldnt live without them. I just wish he didnt think that they couldnt live without him.

    As for his sister. She is the only one speaking up for him. DEFENDING him. Whatever it is, it's pure evil poison that happened to everyone involved.

    In any case. The Father (grandfather) really needs looking into. He definitely had a hold on his son obviously.

  6. He has two sisters, one of whom (Alina)is defending him and the other (Jennifer)sees the truth and is not afraid to call a spade a spade. Jennifer lives in Utah with her mother and husband. And I do think the selfish, narcissistic jerk had the "if I can't have them, nobody will" attitude. But I also think he was afraid they would say something incriminating. As far as anguish goes, I don't see it. I think he has trouble talking without Daddy around to pull the string.

  7. Yes, he had a weird attachment to his father. There is a lot we dont know. I think his father is definitely involved with this whole thing. Evil incarnate.