One of Josh Powell's sisters spoke publicly for the first time Wednesday, saying she wasn't surprised that Josh kidnapped his sons, but she said she never imagined he was capable of killing them.
Jennifer Graves and her husband, Kirk, spoke with reporters in Salt Lake City Wednesday night.
"All I could hear was something about ‘fire,' ‘explosion,' ‘boys,' and then we were both hysterical," she said, recalling the moment they learned what Josh had done.
Both say they are heartbroken over the loss of their nephews, Charlie and Braden, whom they had hoped someday to adopt and raise as their own.
"We expected that they would be a part of our family, like an intimate part of our family, not just our nephews," Jennifer Graves said. "Right now, we are mourning that loss."
KSL TV in Utah reports that Graves said she had witnessed a gradual decline in her brother's behavior over the years and called him "a bit of an odd duck." Graves said the controlling behavior of their father, Steven Powell, contributed to his son's downfall. When Josh Powell lived in Utah, Graves said he would spend hours on the phone with his father, multiple times a week.
"If anyone knows anything, it would be Steve," Kirk Graves said, regarding the disappearance of Susan Powell, Josh's wife. "When he finds a motive, then he'll talk."
When her sister-in-law, Susan Powell, disappeared more than two years ago, Jennifer didn't want to believe Josh was responsible and even defended him. But Jennifer said it didn't take long before she started to think he had killed Susan, and it has divided the Powell family.
Many of Josh Powell's relatives blamed the police, courts and the media for contributing to the events that led to the double murder-suicide Josh carried out on February 5. But Jennifer said the only person who deserves any blame is Josh.
"They are absolutely in denial," Graves said. "People always have a choice. You do not have to murder someone to make your statements, to make your point."
"After hearing the utterly brutal manner he killed his sons — there may be a time I feel sorry for him again — but I have a hard time feeling those feelings for him right now," she added.
Kirk Graves said Josh and Jennifer's mother, Terri Powell, "is taking it very hard" and is distraught over the deaths of her son and grandsons.
Both Jennifer and Kirk Graves plan to travel to Washington state this weekend for the funeral services for Charlie and Braden Powell, planned for Saturday, February 11, at the Life Center Church in Tacoma. Services will begin at 11 a.m.
To read the full story, go to KSL.com.