PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. — A jury ruled Friday afternoon that the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services was negligent in the deaths of Susan Cox Powell’s sons Charlie, 5, and Braden, 7.
Susan Cox Powell’s parents, Judith and Charles Cox, were awarded $57 million per child, but that was reduced by $8.4 million because of Josh Powell’s responsibility for the murders. Josh Powell is the father of the two boys.
Judith and Charles Cox brought the case against DSHS, alleging the state didn’t do enough to keep the boys from their father, who killed them in February 2012.
The boys had arrived for a visit supervised by DSHS after Josh Powell lost custody to the grandparents.
Josh Powell bludgeoned the boys with a hatchet then killed them and himself by dousing his home with gasoline and setting it on fire.
Josh Powell was declared a suspect in the disappearance of his wife Susan Cox Powell who disappeared in 2009 in Utah. Her body has never been found.
As for how the money will be used, Chuck Cox said Friday he plans to help other children escape abuse.
“I’m hoping that this will be the start of them looking at their program and following the rules and policies that they’re supposed to be following and protect the lives of other children,” he said.
“Well for eight years the Cox family has been trying to find justice and it took us a long time and we took a long hiatus with the pandemic but with this incredibly dedicated jury today justice had been meted out,” said Ted Buck, the family’s attorney.
Attorneys for the state were interviewing jurors about their verdict and KIRO 7 was not able to talk to the jurors about their decision.
It is not known if DSHS will appeal the verdict.
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