A year after the tragic deaths of Charlie and Braden Powell at the hands of their father, their grandparents spoke before the Senate Law and Justice Committee, urging lawmakers to approve a new bill called the Charlie-Braden Act (Senate Bill 5162), which would prohibit granting suspects child custody if they are the subject of a murder investigation.
Puyallup residents Chuck and Judy Cox told the Senate they believe this legislation could have saved the lives of Charlie and Braden.
"Without this law, a surviving spouse is essentially able to achieve custody by murder," said Chuck Cox.
The Coxes told Senate leaders that they warned police and social service agents that Josh Powell was dangerous. Even while a Pierce County judge ordered a psycho-sexual evaluation for Powell, he was granted visitation with his two boys, who were living with their grandparents.
A few days after the judge's order, Powell killed his two boys in a fire at his Graham home during a supervised court visit, in which he also perished.
Powell was never named an official suspect in the disappearance of his wife Susan, but was the main person of interest in the Utah investigation.
Susan Cox-Powell has never been found.
Sen. Pam Roach (Auburn) co-sponsored the bill.
“To me, this really seems like common sense. If the police suspect that you killed someone, you shouldn’t be granted custody,” said Roach, R-Auburn. “It’s beyond unfortunate that this is a law that needs to exist.”
Do you think this bill could prevent future tragedies? Tell us in the comments.