Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What Would Susan Say: The Susan Cox Powell Video Testimony

Recently released documents in the Susan Cox Powell disappearance, especially a written last will and testament and video made by Susan, indicate that she was in imminent danger and she knew it. In the video we see her laying the groundwork and instruction should something happen to her, as well as in notes she wrote indicating that, ..."if something happens to me it may not be an accident."

This case was one that Susan Murphy Milano wrote about and talked about extensively. (Below are links to some of the posts she wrote.) She had Susan Cox Powell's parents on radio shows along with their attorney Anne Bremner whom she talked to frequently about the case.

According to Susan, and some of the conversations we had about it, the writing was on the wall, Josh Powell had intimate knowledge about what happened to his wife on the night he took two small children camping in freezing weather after dark. Add in the later interviews with his father, still incarcerated Steven Powell, and the soup gets even spicier. She felt that Steven Powell could have possibly been the mastermind behind the whole crime given his obsession with something he could not have, his son's wife.

We are all familiar with the incidents that occurred since the beginning of this case in December of 2009, and the last one standing is Steven Powell. Josh Powell incinerated himself and his children after a social worker came by for an appointed visitation, and his brother, who some believe was also involved, has committed suicide.

By all indications Susan Cox Powell was attempting to create an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit (EAA), but what went wrong, and why didn't it accomplish what she wished it would?

  • There were no incident or police reports filed (that we know of) to indicate violence in the home, Susan only spoke about her unhappy marriage to friends as far as we know. (Hearsay) But, Josh Powell had violent tendencies as indicated in the treatment of his own mother.
  • To document the abuse Susan had a handwritten "last will and testament" but it was not witnessed and notarized (that we know from news reports).
  • After creating the handwritten will and the video testimony, Susan locked it away in what she thought was a safe place, but, by all reports, she didn't give a copy to relatives, trusted friend, or attorney.
  • Most likely the video and will may not hold up as evidence in court, it would depend on the jurisdiction and laws for that state.
Susan Cox Powell tried, she knew enough about her own situation to know she was in danger, and to put her impressions in writing and video. She felt that something was going to happen, intuitively wanting to protect her children and the assets, she did all she knew to do.

Had Susan created an EAA with a trained advocate things may have turned out differently for her and for her children. Although hindsight in this case is 20/20, the information we know could possibly save the life of another in the same situation. 

A person trained to assist in the creation of an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit would know how to have everything in order, signed, witnessed and notarized, to insure that if it ever needed to be presented to a prosecutor, law enforcement investigator, or to the court, that it would have the best chance of being the voice of the victim, whether or not that victim was disabled, missing, or deceased. It would also contain details about the possible perpetrator that would give investigators avenues to take to uncover evidence and proof.

It's a relatively simple process, and those who have created it are all still alive to testify to it's usefulness,  in fact it has the effect of empowerment and peace of mind to most of those who have created their individualized safety plan and the Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit.

On the website, Document the Abuse, Sandra L. Brown, CEO of The Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and colleague of Susan Murphy Milano, has assembled comprehensive information about lethality assessment, how to create the EAA, how to become certified to train others, and lists of all providers and community partners that are committed to help insure the safety of victims of family violence.

What Would Susan Say:

Nine emails were provided to the newspaper after Susan Powell disappeared in December 2009, but at the request of the provider, the newspaper held back on publishing them until now. 
"Every moment I step back and take stock of what I'm dealing with, it feels like a never ending cycle but I'm too afraid of the consequences (sic) losing my kids, him kidnapping, divorce or actions worse on his part, if I take a stand on one of his ultimatums like spending $20 on the counseling co-pay or cutting off access to my pay check," she wrote. 

When Susan Cox Powell vanished, it was disclosed by the oldest of the boys, "mommy went on a camping trip with us but she didn't come back." West Valley city police, for unknown reasons, decided to sit on evidence; blood, child's disclosure, a letter found in Susan's drawer at work stating "if something happens to me." There was enough within weeks to prevent Josh Powell from leaving the state of Utah and making an arrest. What in God's name were they waiting for?   (from May 1, 2012 post)

Help keep Susan Murphy Milano's legacy moving forward into the future, a future where there is absolute help for victims of violence, female and male.

If you're a victim, read Holding My Hand Through Hell, you will find yourself and your story somewhere in this book,  Susan's true crime memoir is a must. 

If you are thinking about ending a relationship, before you make any announcements or plans, read Time's Up, prepare your personal Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit and individualized safety plan to insure that you've done all you can.

Click on the book covers to purchase.

*Susan Murphy Milano lost her battle with cancer on October 28, 2012. To keep her work and her memory alive, I will be writing entries to her blog hoping to keep her many loyal readers and keep attention on the cases which she herself wrote about. Sometimes a case screams to be heard, a case that Susan herself would want to write about, those are the ones I will occasionally attempt to present as "What Would Susan Say."......Delilah (ImaginePublicity)

Disclaimer: I am not a trained or certified advocate, only a close friend and colleague of Susan Murphy Milano and was appointed administrator of her online sites. The opinions and case speculations do not necessarily mean that I'm an expert in domestic violence, only in the sense that I had the privilege of working with Susan on a daily basis, editing her blogs and books and sharing in her vast knowledge.



Anonymous said...

I am fighting for my right to live. For 4 months after the first assault, my abuser had 2 outstanding warrants for his arrest but he still came after me. He showed up at my work, assaulted me and said if I contacted police he would kill me. 20 minutes later he returned with a gun. Unfortunately for us, victims of domestic violence, the judicial system works against us. We are victims with no voice. People believe we did something wrong. Not so. I feel for every woman out there trying to stay alive.

Unknown said...

Anonymous, I just stumbled across this website and saw your comment. I hope you're ok. I don't know anything about the laws or what resources are available to help you, if there are any. I just want you to know i'm thinking of you and paying that you're ok.

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