Nice dad kills son

ANOTHER nice dad kills his son. Why? (Supposedly) Because his marriage broke up. (Why are women leaving these gems?) I have 3 words for these guys: SUCK IT UP.



A LITTLE boy thrown to his death from a bridge had tried to comfort his dad after his mother left them.

Friends and neighbours said a marriage break-up probably caused the murder-suicide of Jason Lees, 40, and his toddler Brad.

A neighbour yesterday recounted the heartwrenching day when two-year-old Brad hugged his weeping dad on the back stairs of their Brisbane home.

Marlene Stephens, who lives next door, said she thought Mr Lees’ wife Danielle was no longer living with them when he made the fateful decision to kill his son and take his own life.

“She left him a while back and you could hear and see him crying on the back stairs,” she said.

“I remember the little boy came down and wrapped his arms around him – I’m always going to remember that image.”

Ms Stephens said Brad always gave her a wave.

“It was always so lovely to hear them laugh. He was a beautiful kid,” she said.

Mr Lees, a much-admired teacher at a top private school in Brisbane, rode his bike on to Story Bridge about 2.30am on Monday and jumped to his death with Brad.

His wife, a psychologist from the Gold Coast, could not be contacted yesterday.

The couple met after Mr Lees moved from Canada about 15 years ago.

Bill Lees told the Ottawa Sun he met his baby nephew when his brother and his family visited Canada in 2010 so Jason could referee an international rugby sevens match. “That was the last time I saw them,” he said.

Rugby friends say they used to see Danielle at matches quite often, but hadn’t seen her much in the past year.

He loved his little son – he was the apple of his eye,” one friend said.

A parent said on Facebook that Mr Lees taught her son.

Why can I only feel deep sadness for his pain instead of condemning him for what he has done to himself and Brad?” she wrote.

– with Kate Kyriacou and Rose Brennan

No excuse but one for Josh Powell – He was dangerous

According to the Associated Press (printed in the Washington Post), Josh Powell’s note was…”a farewell to the world after two years of being scrutinized in the media, hammered by police and questioned by judges, prosecutors and social workers, living his life under a microscope since the day his wife vanished.” Really? Life was so hard for him he blew up his two young children? Poor guy.

According to another Associate Press article, writers Brian Skoloff, Gene Johnson, and Mike Baker called the case a “salacious saga of finger-pointing and accusations of sex and lies.” So did the tawdry circumstances lead him to kill his children?

Worse yet, quotes a prosecutor that believes it was the psycho-sexual evaluation that led Powell to murder the kids:

Just last week, the court ordered the boys’ dad, Josh, to undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist thinks that may have been what triggered Sunday’s fire.

“Those tests are highly intrusive, highly thorough,” Lindquist said. “They cover a person’s entire life history, sexual history and there’s a polygraph involved.  That was a good choice to get at information.  Clearly it was something Mr. Powell feared and wasn’t about to go through.”,0,4410383.story

Are you kidding me?

Apparently, the only adults who recognized that Josh Powell, the only suspect in his wife’s disappearance, was dangerous were Susan Powell’s parents. They feared something like this would happen – if only we allowed fear-based suspicions to be used, we’d avert a lot of murders. At a conference on femicide at John Jay College in New York a few years ago, an expert indicated fear was the best indicator for a woman’s murder. Couldn’t there be a fear test just as there is a psycho-sexual test? Couldn’t we put trust into people’s knowledge of the suspect and their instinct? These murders are not unpredictable.

Nor are they an “extreme anomaly” as Carol Gage was quoted saying in an article (“Powell case raises questions about custody laws”) by John Hollenhorst.

Actually, the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence estimates 58,000 children a year go into unsupervised visitation or sole or joint custody with a physically or sexually abusive parent. Although Powell, the primary suspect in his wife’s disappearance, had supervised visitation, it was at his father’s home — in Washington state (although the children had previously lived in Utah). I’m sure his pro bono lawyer helped him achieve that – quite a feat since many battered women don’t even have legal counsel when they go into court. This is one reason women who allege abuse can lose custody; another is the current climate that stresses contact with both parents. Parental rights shouldn’t – but often enough they do – trump children’s safety, as this case clearly illustrates. For more examples of custody-related homicides like these, the blog Dastardly Dads is one of the few sources keeping track of these tragedies:  They occur far more often than the media will admit .

Aside from context, headlines should also correctly place the blame and read something like this – Josh Powell, suspect in wife’s disappearance, sets fire to home, kills self, two sons. It should include his name and perhaps his status in the case. It should identify him as the person who set the fire, in an active voice (not “Fire kills husband of missing Utah woman , 2 boys” ). And, he should be identified as the father of the children. I’ve noted several cases of “father absent” headlines on my blog in the past.

The media can help raise awareness of custody-related cases of murder by providing accurate headlines and basic context — and most importantly, by correctly identifying the cause of murder – in this case, a dangerous father with malicious intent.