Josh Powell's brother commits suicide

Feb. 13, 2013 at 4:15 PM

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- The brother and defender of Josh Powell, who killed himself and his two sons in a house fire after suspicions he killed his wife Susan, has committed suicide.

The Hennepin County, Minn., Medical Examiner's Office confirmed the death of Michael C. Powell, 30, who moved to Minnesota in 2010 to pursue graduate studies.

Four people witnessed his fall Monday from a building in downtown Minneapolis. He landed on a sidewalk and died immediately, a police report said.

Michael Powell ardently defended his brother Josh, who died with his two young sons in an intentionally set house fire in Graham, Wash., in 2011. Josh Powell was the only person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, Susan Powell, last seen in 2009 at the couple's West Valley, Utah, home, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.

He also fiercely defended his father Steve Powell, convicted in 2012 of 14 counts of voyeurism for taking photographs of two girls, neighbors of his in Puyallup, Wash. Steve Powell is scheduled to be released from prison in May, the newspaper said.

At the time of his death, Michael Powell was involved in a legal battle with Susan's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox, over $1.5 million in insurance policies issued to Josh Powell and sons Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5.

In posts on a short-lived website, Michael Powell said he did not believe prosecutors had evidence to support the charges then pending against his father, which he said were meant to "inflict maximum damage to the Powell family's reputation and long-term financial situation."

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