Trial begins over deaths of Susan Powell’s sons

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TACOMA, Wash (KOMO/ABC4) – One of the final chapters in the December 2009 disappearance of former Puyallup resident Susan Cox Powell begins Tuesday, with opening arguments in a civil lawsuit over the brutal deaths of her two young sons.

The two boys, Charlie and Braden, were attacked and killed by their father Josh Powell while he was under suspicion for Susan Powell’s disappearance.

Police say when the two boys were brought to Powell’s Pierce County home by a state caseworker for a supervised visit in February 2012, Powell locked out the caseworker, killed the boys with a hatchet and then killed himself in an explosive fire that destroyed the home.

The wrongful death lawsuit was originally brought in 2012 by Susan Powell’s parents, Judy and Chuck Cox of Puyallup, who allege that negligence by the state Department of Social and Health Services was a contributing factor that led to the deaths of their grandsons at the hands of their father.

The Coxes

The Coxes’ lawsuit was thrown out in 2015 but was revived earlier last year by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

On the first day of trial, in Pierce County Superior Court, both sides will present opening statements, and attorneys for the Cox family will begin to call witnesses. The trial is expected to last four weeks. Judge Stanley J. Rumbaugh will preside.

Watch live here (warning stream may contain graphic language)

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Susan Cox Powell disappeared on December 6, 2009. Her husband, Josh Powell became a prime suspect when his stories of her whereabouts puzzled West Valley police.

Josh Powell moved to Washington state along with his two children. Susan’s parents, Charles and Judy Cox, wrangled with Josh Powell over custody of the children.

A state judge allowed Powell to have supervised visits, and it was during a visit that he locked the social worker out and killed the children.

For more on the Susan Powell Case click here.

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