Lack of body made it difficult to file charges in Powell case, ex-DA says

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  • naturelove Naugatuck, CT
    April 7, 2012 10:49 p.m.

    I agree with those that are commenting on this absolutely sad, tragic, foolish and needlessly bad situation those kids suffered violently and painfully at the hands of a person whom they confusedly trusted. Something like many of us are trusting our justice system in doing the right thing to protect us,, our families friends, etc Come On people we have to be and do better than this! His behavior screams If I can't get my own way if I can't have what I want then no one can have My kids HER parents aren't going to enjoy my creations!

  • Hoopty6 OGDEN, UT
    April 4, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    If they were acquitted I don't see how that is 'put in jeopardy of life or limb.'

  • Furry1993 Clearfield, UT
    April 3, 2012 3:47 p.m.

    To Hoopty6 | 2:07 p.m. April 3, 2012

    You said: If the person is guilty they are guilty. It shouldn't matter if they were previously tried and not convicted. I know I have blamed people for things and later found out what really happened. It changes things.

    Who do we talk to or what do we do to get this legal loophole (problem) fixed so this doesn't keep happening? Let's take a stand.

    What do you have to do to get this "loophole" fixed? Amend the 5th amendment to the US Constitution, which provides ". . . nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb . . ." That's not going to happen.

  • Hoopty6 OGDEN, UT
    April 3, 2012 2:07 p.m.

    "There comes a point where you have to say, 'We have the evidence that we have and we have to go forward and take a shot.' The downside, if you get an acquittal you can't bring the case back and try it again if you find a body."

    What is with this??? That's the root of the problem. If we try and find him guilty he can appeal and appeal wasting tax dollars for the next 50 years, but if we try and don't convict, we can never try him again if/when more evidence (and a body in this case) are found?!? That makes no sense at all. How many times has this happened and then after the fact something is found that was not known before that changes things? If the person is guilty they are guilty. It shouldn't matter if they were previously tried and not convicted. I know I have blamed people for things and later found out what really happened. It changes things.

    Who do we talk to or what do we do to get this legal loophole (problem) fixed so this doesn't keep happening? Let's take a stand.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    April 3, 2012 1:42 p.m.

    Well, they have plenty of bodies now...

    Many, many, MANY people have been convicted of murder without bodies.

    He had her cellphone in his car, without the sim card. Her purse was in his possession. There was blood on the floor with fans blowing to dry it. He had tools to dig with in the car. He didn't show up for work. His boy said, "We went camping and mommy didn't come back." She left a note saying, "If I die, Josh did it."

    He lied to investigators. "I didn't have my charger with me," when the officer could see the cellphone charging in his car.

    WVC had his computer for 2 years and needed a warrant to get around the password? There are 1,000 people in this valley that could've gotten around the password in 60 minutes or less.

    The LEAST they could've done is arrest him for obstruction of an investigation. Give child services something to go on so they could remove those boys from his custody to protect them.

    What there IS no evidence of is competence in the WVC police department and the AG's office.

  • VIDAR Murray, UT
    April 3, 2012 1:34 p.m.

    They can only try a defendant once. They have to get it right the first time, if they charge; have a trial; he is found innocent; he can never be charged again.
    any evidence after that; including a body; would not matter.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 3, 2012 1:04 p.m.

    So... are you telling people "IF you can dispose of the body well enough... you can get away with it"?

    That's a TERRIBLE message. Telling people that it doesn't matter how much evidence is left... if you can find a way to prevent the body from being found, just focus on that... as long as they don't find it... you will get away with it!

    It's a MYTH that the body must be found first. When there's plenty of other evidence you don't need the body. Especially when there's evidence that the body has been disposed of in a way that it's never going to be discovered no matter how hard you look. There are ways to dispose of a body and insure it can never be found (don't want to go into them here).

    But defending the handling of this case by saying they couldn't do anything without the body... is ludicrous! Cases are solved all the time without a body!

    They had enough evidence to charge him. They for SURE had enough evidence to keep him from having custody of the kids.

  • djk blue springs, MO
    April 3, 2012 10:57 a.m.

    josh knew what he did. his sons saw and knew what he did to their mother. yes no body no proof exactly what happened to her but i am siding with 'josh killed her and dumped her body'. he should of been held accountable. josh was unstable. sad that domestic violence is on the rise. oj simpson got away with murdering or being part of the murder of his ex wife and her friend. life seems to be not worth much to some. i know the boys are with their mother, josh well he will suffer for what he did but our Heavenly Father makes the final decision. i am sure josh will be with those whom have acted with horrible acts of violence. innocent lives lost. his father also knows what happened and he is a loopy character. will the truth ever be told ? most likely not. hopefully the father will never be out of prison. let him stay there and remember over and over how he could of saved his daughter in law and his grandchildren from innocent deaths.

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    April 3, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    RE: Mugabe. Simpson was overwhelmingly guilty. The evidence was there. If you take the DNA evidence alone and not consider any of the other evidence, it is overpowering proof of Simpson's guilt. But in addition, you have the matching bloody footprints of O.J., drops of Simpson's blood were found at the crime scene, Simpson's hair and fibers from his cap were found on Goldman's body, the bloody glove found at Simpson's house HAD shrunk from moisture AND had his genetic factors on it, bloody socks belonging to O.J. and had blood matching Nicole's were found in his home, blood from Nicole and Goldman were found on Simpson's Bronco, plus police records show that he was prone to rages where he would violently assault Nicole. And there is still much more. Face the reality. O.J. was an abuser and a murderer. The police, the prosecution and the judge bungled it and that opened the door for the jury to blow it too.

  • Arm of Orion Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 3, 2012 10:19 a.m.

    Always remember interneters that hind sight is 20-20

  • Daddiooh Orem, UT
    April 3, 2012 10:13 a.m.

    I, like most on this comment board, am not a police officer nor an attorney. Being a citizen, I have just enough knowledge to be able to follow cases like this one and to voice a strong opinion. My frustration is more with the DA's office than with the police. After high-profile cases have failed in the past, I understand why they are cautious. Could filing charges earlier have prevented the death of the boys? I don't know, but in my heart I scream "Yes it would have!" However, even though there is a lot of compelling evidence that points to Powell's guilt,I have never tried a case so I don't know if they really had enough to win without a body. I am sure that members of the DA's office probably have nagging doubts as well even though logic says they made the right call. Also, I have got to believe that there were some within the police department who were screaming for charges to be filed against him. To me, logic dictates this. But again, I am not in law enforcement or an attorney. I'm just sad the boys died.

  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    April 3, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    Re: I M LDS 2
    "The problem is not that WVCPD failed to arrest Josh Powell when they should have"

    And when a prosecutor decided there wasn't enough evidence to try him and a judge ordered his release from jail then what?

    Armchair generals have all the answers but frequently don't understand the questions.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    April 3, 2012 9:54 a.m.

    Officials in Washington should offer Steven Powell a deal. They should offer a reduced sentence for information leading to the body of Susan Powell. If he knows, he might help out the family for a lesser sentence. It might work.

  • mcdugall Layton, UT
    April 3, 2012 8:15 a.m.

    Riverton Cougar - "The problem is that the court system tends to favor the defendant..." That is the intent of the system the founders wanted. They did not want a tyrannical government abusing its power. It is always better to let one person go free than to send an innocent man to jail. As much as everyone wants assume the husband did it, there was not enough evidence to guarantee a conviction. The only other person who knows what happened, who is still alive, is presumably Scott's Dad.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    April 3, 2012 7:55 a.m.

    It is not the primary responsibility of law enforcement to protect citizens from crime. It is their responsibility to enforce the laws, which can only be done once the laws have been violated. Then they have the onerous duty to work in the face of the presumption of innocence to try and establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    The "problem" with this case is not that law enforcement was incompetent, nor that our justice system is broken. The problem is not that WVCPD failed to arrest Josh Powell when they should have. The problem is the criminal who places his own desires, frustrations, and anger above the rights to life, liberty and property of another human being. The problem has always been Josh Powell himself. Blaming WVCPD for the horrible outcomes precipitating from Josh Powell's criminal behavior is misguided and immoral.

  • RN4moms Bountiful, UT
    April 3, 2012 7:43 a.m.

    There may not have been enough evidence yet to try Josh in court but there was plenty of evidence as to why he should not have been with the children, particularly in his home. What evidence WVC had such as Susan's statement about fear for her own life, should have been presented strongly to child protective services and judges involved in the custody/visitation dispute to keep them safe.

    Yes, the police did play a role in the children's deaths because it is their job to protect the innocent public and there was clearly enough evidence at their disposal to present a strong case against the visitation and placement with Josh from early on. It is an excuse to say that they were acting responsibly in pursuing the best case against Josh for prosecution for murder. That much truth is mixed with lies that there was nothing they could have done to protect the children.

    I am a huge advocate for fathers having complete and unlimited access to their children but when this kind of insanity occurs, whether it is mother, father or others, restrictions must be in place against the serious risk of harm.

  • Mugabe ACWORTH, GA
    April 3, 2012 7:28 a.m.

    To Sarah Nichole:

    The Jury on the O.J. Simpson case found him "Not Guilty." The case is over, and you should not make a judgment on a person in which you have no evidence to support your claim. As a matter of face, a book is being published, naming the person responsible for Nichole's murder.

    In this People's Constitutional Republic, a person is innocent until proven guilty, no matter what our personal opinions may be. We should give all Men/Women the same benefit of the doubt that we would want for ourselves in a situation like this. There are plenty innocent Men/Women in prison who are innocent. Much love to you.

  • Sarah Nichole West Jordan, UT
    April 3, 2012 12:27 a.m.

    Honestly, as sad as this entire case has been, I don't blame the police for their hesitation. They wanted to avoid another O.J. Simpson/Casey Anthony case, where the defendant was obviously guilty but they were unable to prove it in court. Since they didn't have a body, they had to ensure that every other aspect of the case was nailed down tight, and it wasn't yet. They only had the one chance to convict him, and if they didn't think the evidence was strong enough, that's their call. They'd know better than the rest of us what will hold up in court and what won't.

  • Riverton Cougar Riverton, UT
    April 2, 2012 11:26 p.m.

    The problem is that the court system tends to favor the defendant, and the prosecutor will need really good evidence to persuade the judge. If the WVCPD didn't have strong enough evidence, then filing charges could have done more harm than good because a good attorney could weasel Powell out of it, and then Powell would get custody and the WVCPD would have to find completely new evidence for a completely new charge.

    In this case, Double Jeopardy is like the WVCPD having a gun with only one bullet; they didn't feel that they had a good enough view to get a good shot at the target (too risky, can't afford to miss).

  • chubbuckidahocougfan Chubbuck, Idaho
    April 2, 2012 10:39 p.m.

    WVCPD=damage control! The evidence is definately there. What is the sad thing about this is that the WVCPD could have saved two innocent children by itleast presenting this evidence in order to get the children out of Powell's custody. When a husban leaves his wife 9 days after she dissappeared and shows no interest in finding her....then it's obviously apparent he is a risk to his children and society. I don't have to hear prior DA's comment on this to realize after reading and analyzing all this evidence that he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and it could have easily been proven in court with even very incompetent prosecuting attorneys.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    April 2, 2012 9:13 p.m.

    Another case not mentioned in the article was that of Ann Marie Fahey. Ann Marie's body was never found, but the police stitched together clues and eventually a brother of the murderer revealed he had helped dispose of a body.

    The only potential witnesses, the boys, suffered the same fate as their mother.
    Very sad.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    April 2, 2012 8:33 p.m.

    I read an article in another online source, and it stated that he had insured Susan more one and one-half million dollars. Was that published in error?