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February 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Josh Powell had 400 cartoon sex and incest images

From Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press:

Josh Powell had hundreds of images of disturbing cartoon sex and graphic depictions of incest on his home computer, according to files released Friday.

A Washington state psychologist who had previously said Powell’s strong parenting skills should allow him to continue supervised visits altered his assessment after reviewing the images, calling them a “great concern” and suggesting a more intense evaluation of the father. That conclusion came just six days before he killed himself and two sons, Charlie and Braden, in  house fire on Feb. 5.

Many of the approximately 400 images cited in the state social services files included sexual depictions of popular cartoons, including child-focused characters such as Rugrats, Dennis the Menace and SpongeBob SquarePants. Another 15 images showed 3-D depictions of sex involving parents and their children.

Powell had initially told the psychologist that he visited only pornography sites featuring adults.

“Given the gaps of information about Mr. Powell there seems reason to conclude he may not presently be a stable and appropriate resource for his children,” wrote Dr. James Manley in a follow-up report.

In other documents released under Washington public records laws, social workers detailed how they were concerned that Josh Powell would speak disparagingly of his in-laws, Chuck and Judy Cox, in front of his children. The documents also state that Charlie Powell was beginning to remember about his mother, and that he said “he remembers she left because grandpa was mean to her.” Caseworkers believed that Charlie was repeating what his father had been saying.

During a court-ordered visitation on Feb. 5, Josh Powell attacked his sons, Braden, 5, and Charlie, 7, with a hatchet before igniting a gasoline-fueled fire in his rental home in Graham. All three died.

The double murder-suicide came just four days after a Pierce County judge ordered Powell to undergo a psychosexual examination as part of his ongoing custody battle with the state and his in-laws, Chuck and Judy Cox. Powell had lost custody of the two boys after his father was arrested on voyeurism and child-pornography charges last fall.

The boys were living with the Coxes.

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said there was no doubt the killings and Powell’s suicide were premeditated, likely as a direct result of the court hearing. In the days and hours leading up to the fire, Powell had dropped off toys and books at a Goodwill store, withdrawn $7,000 in cash from his bank account, obtained 10 gallons of gasoline and sent final emails and voice mails to friends and acquaintances.

In once voice mail left for a family member, Powell said he couldn’t live without the boys and didn’t want to go on anymore.

“I’m sorry to everyone I’ve hurt,” he is heard saying. “Goodbye.”

Meanwhile, police in West Valley City, Utah, continue to search for Powell’s wife, Susan Powell, who disappeared in December 2009.

Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist believes Powell’s final act — killing his sons and himself — was tantamount to a confession.

“If there was any doubt about who murdered Susan Powell, it’s gone now,” said Lindquist, whose office is prosecuting Powell’s father, Steven Powell.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, Josh Powll, suicide

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