Powell Attacked Sons With Ax Before Blast

Braden, Charlie reportedly didn't want to visit dad Josh Powell
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2012 12:51 AM CST
Killer Dad Attacked Sons With Ax Before Blast
A melted gas can is marked with an evidence flag at the home of Josh Powell where the father blew up himself and his two young sons.   (AP Photo/Pierce County Sheriff's Dept., Ed Troyer, Pool)

The dad who blew up his two young sons and himself in his Washington state home attacked the boys with an ax minutes before the blast, according to authorities. Brothers Braden, 5, and Charlie, 7, suffered deep gashes to their neck and head just before dad Josh Powell lighted 10 gallons of gasoline in his home. They died from the neck injuries and carbon monoxide poisoning, the coroner told KING5-TV. Just minutes before their death, the boys had been delivered by a social social worker for a weekend visit with Powell, the only suspect in his wife's 2009 disappearance. The brothers, who were being raised by their maternal grandparents, reportedly didn't want to visit their father, and Charlie had begun to talk of seeing "mommy in the trunk" of the family car.

Powell had planned the deaths for days, say police. He had given away all the boys' toys and sent emails to friends, cousins, and pastors telling them how to dispose of his money and house, reports the Seattle Times. He had just lost another custody hearing, and said he couldn't live without his sons. Grandfather Chuck Cox said he feared that Powell would kill the boys. "We stated our fear many times, that if he was feeling desperate he would possibly kill himself and the boys," said Cox, adding that they had shared their concerns with officials. "They were all aware of our fears—that he would take a cowardly way out." (Read more Josh Powell stories.)

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