Documents detail Josh Powell's 'anger triggers'

Published: Friday, March 2 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

A child health and education tracking report for Charlie dated Oct. 19, 2011, noted that "Charlie has told his grandparents that he does not like school because people don't like him. The grandparents think this is because of the situation they are in and what other children may be hearing or saying."

The report noted concerns that Charlie "worries about everything, he can be selfish" and at times anti-social.

A report dated Oct. 26 noted that Charlie had made comments such as, "My grandparents are evil," and "I know my grandparents are trying to keep me from seeing my dad."

A report for Braden noted that he "seems to like it when he takes something and it makes the other person mad, cry or get in trouble and seems to have no regard for others." Yet another report showed that Braden felt sad when others were hurt.

Both the Cox family and Josh Powell agreed that counseling was needed for both children.

Josh Powell's manipulative behavior in an attempt to gain custody of his children is revealed in three statements released in the records:

The day after the boys were removed from Josh Powell's house in September, he told the state that the Coxes were "the most dangerous people on the planet to my sons."

But in a declaration by Powell submitted to the court on Feb. 1, just days before Powell murdered his children, he said, "If anyone wants to be honest with themselves and the situation, the real story is not that anyone is a bad person, including me. The story is one of overcoming and rising above what many people think are insurmountable challenges. I know my own heart is free of any guilt regardless what people claim. I know the Coxes and others have suffered as much as me and it is time to let go of hurtful attitudes."

In that same declaration, Powell tries to convince the state that, "a lesser person would fall under the intense scrutiny I am facing, but apparently my inherent resilience as a person makes it increasingly difficult for them to pursue their agendas."

In one case report, state officials noted that Josh Powell "has not been diagnosed with anything but there is a concern about possible mental illness," and wrote, "He is a suspect in the murder of his wife Susan Cox Powell." A later diagnosis concluded Powell possibly had adjustment disorder with anxiety and traits of narcissistic personality disorder.

Anger triggers

Powell admitted in a Dec. 12, 2011 report that he had "anger triggers" which included the Cox family, people who lie or try to manipulate him, the LDS Church and his father's inappropriate obsession with Susan.

But in other reports, evaluators noted that despite Powell's apparent anger at his father, it didn't seem to be enough to break his loyalty to him.

Caseworkers noticed other topics, such as the media and his estranged sister, Jennifer Graves, that would especially anger Josh Powell. They reported that he would become overly focused on them, even focusing on those topics during visits with his children and in spite of discouragement from those supervising him.

An example is given in the evaluation, when a woman sat in on a session with Josh Powell and his sons following his father Steven Powell's arrest. The woman told Josh Powell that he needed to explain the arrest to his children at their level and encouraged him to offer as much of the truth as was possible.

"Josh informed the boys that the Mormon police had made up bad information about their grandpa and put him in jail and that they were trying to do the same thing to him," the woman recounted.

Powell often reacted strongly when his children would mention his in-laws or their mother, Susan Cox Powell, during his visits with the boys. Susan Powell has been missing since 2009 and police believe Josh Powell is responsible for her disappearance.

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