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Judge slashes award to Cox family after civil case victory

An attorney stands near a photo of Charlie and Braden Powell during court proceedings in 2020. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A judge dealt a major blow to the parents of Susan Cox Powell after their recent victory in a civil case against Department of Children, Youth, and Families for failing to protect their grandsons.

Chuck and Judy Cox won a record $98.5 million award in August in a long-fought lawsuit against DSHS for its failure to protect their young grandsons, Charlie and Braden Powell, from their dad Josh Powell.

Investigators determined Josh Powell grabbed the boys during a supervised visit in 2012, attacked them with a hatchet, and blew up their Graham house with all three inside.

On Tuesday, the Pierce County judge slashed the $98.5 million award by 2/3 to just over $32 million, saying the passions of the jury were inflamed by the horrific details of the killings and calling it untethered from the evidence.

State attorneys also argued the award was excessive given there were no living victims.

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