Sunday, April 15, 2012

West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder: Susan Cox Powell Case

[Demons and Saints: Murder of Susan Cox Powell's Family]


Mayor Mike Winder is mayor of West Valley which is Utah's second-largest city. 

He was caught deceptively using a false pen name to plant positive stories to counter stories about crime, though the Susan Cox Powell Case sticks out as the only crime that reached national prominence. 

He has supported his police force non-investigation of the Susan Cox Powell case, and he's the man ultimately in charge of the investigation. He's the one in charge of the incredible position of his police force that they still don't have any idea of what happened to Susan, and still don't have enough evidence to even name Josh as a suspect. Now his city government has decided to not say anything about the case, and to batten the hatches against a possible lawsuit? hits on the head when it says that West Valley Police need to own up to explaining why they kept evidence pointing to Josh's unmistakable guilt under wraps, and why they refused to investigate it as a murder, effectively giving Josh a pass even after his death and obvious murder of this sons. 

I can only surmise that the circling of wagons against a possible lawsuit is that somebody very high, as high as the Mayor made a decision that they were simply would never charge Josh unless a perfect case hit them in the head. 

This is not a matter of incompetence, it is a matter of willingly use every power at their disposal to NOT charge Josh and give him a pass, just like the killer(s) of Robert Eric Wone and the bombers of Air India Flight 182. If they systems wants to nail somebody, they will break every rule to do so. If the system wants to let somebody go, they can make that happen too.

I like this comment on Seattle Times:

April 6, 2012 at 8:31 AM
Rating:  (14 (16)
Two sets of people in this sad, sad story are variously evil, loathsome, feckless, and derelict:

One set are the Powells, father and son. The other set is Utah law enforcement.

Both sets of people bear moral responsibilty for the murder of two young boys.

  • FormerAF (pro-Josh)
    None of the evidence directly points to murder. It's all circumstantial.  Unless the blood they found in the home was a massive spot, there is no proof of death. The average human body contains 6 quarts of blood. How many people can honestly say they never cut themselves or had a nose bleed and spotted the carpet in their home?
    Chances are great Josh would have gotten off because of reasonable doubt. (what the heck??)
    If the Coxes want to point the blame on anyone they should look to Washington state law enforcement and child protection services. They are the ones who failed to protect Powell's children. It looks like Washington state is trying to CYA.
  • laytonian, ... force of nature
    Circumstantial evidence is everything but eyewitness testimony -- and is actually more accurate.  
    When you take ONE circumstance, and conflate it as "we all cut our fingers" -- it's meaningless.
    What's important is the entire scope of all circumstances.
    Remember, Susan went to bed "tired" before Jovanna left.   Josh took the kids sledding and then came back two hours later.   IF Susan had got up to fix herself a sandwich while they were gone and cut herself so badly that she bled on the tile, the carpet and the sofa ... would Josh have taken the kids again to go camping?   If she was cut that badly, would she have been able to clean the carpets and the sofa ... and bring in fans?
    Josh told police he turned his phone off because he didn't have a charger, but it was in plain view in his car, plugged into a charger.   He also had Susan's phone with him, and called that phone from his .... leaving a fake message to her asking if she had a ride home from work.  (Huh?   He'd have had to take her to work that day, because they had no other car...
    show more
  • Katie
    Clearly, laytonian, you are an intelligent person who can link circumstances together and come to a reasonable conclusion. I agree with you 100%.  
    Unfortunately, all we have to do is look at recent high-profile cases and see that it doesn't always work out that way in the courts. A good or even average defense lawyer along with a dumbed-down CSI watching jury would probably not have found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  It is unfathomable to you or me but neither one of us would have been allowed on the jury.  It seems like you have to be incapable of seeing that 1+1=2 in order to serve on a jury these days.
    The police were probably hoping to find Susan's body or some irrefutable piece of evidence to tie Josh to her murder so they wouldn't lose their one shot at getting at right at trial.  The whole thing is a tragedy beyond words but these types of things will continue to happen unless we change the way our justice system works.
  • Guest
    Comment removed.
  • FormerAFCollapse
    There is nothing obvious about it. What is obvious is your disrespect for law enforcement and lack of knowledge.
    Here's a good question for your theory, how well do you think a perpetual supply of law enforcement rookies can protect your butt or investigate crimes? That is what you are proposing.

    1. @@Alias

      West Valley mayor admits writing articles using false name | The Salt ...
      Nov 11, 2011 – West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder has admitted writing articles about his own city for the Deseret News and other media outlets under a pen ...
    2. West Valley mayor (R) admits writing news stories using false name ... › Discuss
      Source: Salt Lake Tribune West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder has admitted writing articles about his own city for the Deseret News and other media outlets ...
    3. West Valley mayor faces lawsuit over news story | 17, 2011 - 1 min
      The attorney for a former UTOPIA executive has informed the municipal fiber- optic network and West Valley ...
    4. West Valley mayor used fake name to write news stories | 10, 2011 - 2 min
      West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder has admitted to creating a false identity to write news stories about the ...Using the name Richard Burwash, the West Valley mayor had more than a dozen stories published over a two-year period. His stories first appeared in the Oquirrh Times beginning in September of 2010. ...
      Winder even pretended to be the fictional Burwash when he spoke with editors over the phone and in emails.

      Mayor Used Alias to Promote Town -
      Nov 12, 2011 – “I thought about all the people just reading about crime in our city and nothing better,” said Mayor Michael K. Winder of West Valley City, ...

      1. The Utah mayor, not to be confused with Richard Burwash - Erik ...
        Nov 11, 2011 – The mayor of West Valley City, Utah, has been busted for deploying a pseudonym in writing positive articles about his city in Utah newspapers.
      2. Editorials/commentary: The Curious Case of Richard Burwash ...
        Nov 15, 2011 – Editorials: Transparency in government; Fish in Utah Lake . .... TheUtah mayor, not to be confused with Richard Burwash - Erik Wemple, The ...
      3. West Valley mayor admits writing articles using false name | The Salt ...
        Nov 11, 2011 – ... this year under the name Richard Burwash were published in either the ... CEO of Winder Dairy, to celebrate one of Utah's oldest companies.
      4. Utah mayor unmasked as fictitious 'good news' reporter
        Nov 12, 2011 – The mayor of West Valley City, Utah, said he wanted to highlight "good news" ... The Washington Post caught up with a real Richard Burwash

          1. He defended his journalistic sleight of hand to The Salt Lake Tribune by invoking the names of other Americans -- Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton -- who published under pen names.... 
        Winder "unveiled a new transparency standard for government, saying it would define West Valley City as Utah's most open and accessible community."

      5. Richard Burwash (@RichBurwash) on Twitter!/RichBurwash
        Sign up for Twitter to follow Richard Burwash (@RichBurwash). ... @ SLTribPolitics Little known fact: The originating dialogue in the Utah Compact started in ...
      6. Richard burwash News, Video and Gossip - Gawker
        Nov 12, 2011 – richard burwash - Mayor Posed As a Freelance Writer to Cover His Own ... West Valley City, Utah mayor Mike Winder was sick 'n' tired of ...

  1. Richard Burwash - Deseret News
    We assume he visited all of Utah's politicians, but those on the "naughty list" no doubt... When West Valley City community reporter Richard Burwash sought to ...
  2. The man whose image was used in Mayor Winder's ruse talks ...
    Nov 13, 2011 – WEST VALLEY CITY (ABC 4 News) - His name is Peter Burwash, not Richard. ... Winder to publish articles under the "pen name” of Richard Burwash...issued at 2:51 PM American Fork, UT | Beryl, UT | Bingham Canyon, UT ...
  3. The Masque of Richard Burwash |
    Added Nov 16, 2011, Under: Utah Politics ... Under the pen name, “Richard Burwash”, he authored glowing articles about his city to counter act what he saw as ...Under the pen name, “Richard Burwash”, he authored glowing articles about his city to counter act what he saw as ‘biased’ reporting regarding his city. In an attempt to break the image of West Valley being a crime ridden city.... If I was the Mayor and the only headlines I saw from the paper were “Shooting in West Valley”, “Armed Robbery in West Valley Neighborhood”, “Zombies Exist, but Only in West Valley City” I’d be pretty annoyed too.
  4. Utah Mayor Apologizes for Planting Stories and Identity Theft ...
    Nov 14, 2011 – Call it West Valley, Utah a 130000-person bedroom community ... Using the name Richard Burwash, the West Valley mayor had more than a ...

    Richard Burwash

    Last updated: Thursday, April 12 2012 5:17 p.m. MDT

    Ex-UTOPIA exec files defamation suit against company, West Valley mayor

    A former UTOPIA executive has filed a defamation lawsuit against the company, West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder and Deseret Digital Media stemming from an article Winder wrote under an fake name.
    Published: Jan. 26, 2012

    I completely understand where West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder was coming from when he turned himself into Richard Burwash and wrote all those positive news articles that reflected so favorably on himself, his political views and his community.
    Published: Dec. 8, 2011

    WVC Council openly reprimands Winder for actions with the press

    The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to issue an open letter of reprimand against Mayor Mike Winder, saying his dishonest actions with the media were outside the scope of his authority.
    Published: Dec. 6, 2011

    West Valley City Council to reprimand Mayor Mike Winder

    City Council members have written an "open letter of reprimand" to Winder and plan to approve that letter by resolution Tuesday night. City officials declined to release the letter until after it's approved.
    Published: Dec. 5, 2011

    Richard Snelgrove will run for Salt Lake County mayor

    Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove said Friday he will formally announce he is a candidate in the county mayor's race soon.
    Published: Nov. 18, 2011

    Winder scandal could impact future campaigns

    It's Thanksgiving week, and a cornucopia of political intrigue demands analysis before we settle into holiday cheer. Salt Lake County politics, including the mayoral race, is becoming rather exciting. Here are some morsels to chew on:
    Published: Nov. 20, 2011

    A Potemkin village

    Grigori Potemkin (1739-1791) was a general-field marshal, Russian statesman and favorite of Empress Catherine the Great. He is alleged to have built facades of non-existent villages along desolate stretches of the Dnieper River to impress Catherine as she sailed to the Crimea in 1787. Actors posing as happy peasants stood in front of these pretty stage sets and waved to the pleased empress. A Potemkin village is a pretty picture to fool the gullible romantic.
    Published: Nov. 20, 2011

    West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder's deception tests a news industry in transition

    When West Valley City community reporter Richard Burwash sought to expand coverage of his community, he turned to local online and print media. The city's violent crime rate, twice the state average, was taking up too much news.
    Published: Nov. 18, 2011

    Former UTOPIA executive intends to sue West Valley City Mayor Mike Winder over story

    The attorney for a former UTOPIA executive has informed the municipal fiber-optic network and West Valley City of his intent to file a defamation lawsuit against them over a news story Mayor Mike Winder wrote under a fake name.
    Published: Nov. 18, 2011

    Winder resigns from Summit Group firm after writing news stories under fake name

    Mayor Mike Winder resigned his position as director of public affairs for The Summit Group on Tuesday, saying he "tarnished the reputation of the agency and its employees" by writing news articles under a fake name.
    Published: Nov. 15, 2011

    Utah mayor Mike Winder apologizes to California man over photo misuse

    The mayor of Utah's second-largest city has apologized to a California man for using his photo without permission while the mayor freelanced a series of articles to promote his city under an alias.
    Published: Nov. 14, 2011

    Utah mayor used alias to write upbeat news stories

    Disguising himself with an alias, the mayor of Utah's second-largest city has been writing upbeat freelance articles about his town for area news outlets because he claimed the media spent too much time on crime coverage.
    Published: Nov. 11, 2011

    West Valley City mayor admits using false identity to write news stories

    Mayor Mike Winder has admitted to creating a false identity to write news stories about the city he represents for Utah media outlets.
    Published: Nov. 10, 2011

@@Articles Index

West Valley Council meets with police chief on Powell case | The ...

City Attorney Eric Bunderson and Assistant City Manager Paul Isaac attended the closed council meeting. Bunderson on Wednesday declined to discuss it, including what made officials believe that a lawsuit might be imminent.
Apr 4, 2012 – West Valley City • Amid growing criticism of the police investigation into the disappearance of Susan Powell, city council members on Tuesday ..

In general, he said, "filing a lawsuit is a really easy thing to do" and the city must be prepared to defend itself even against a meritless claim.

  1. Comments: West Valley officials close ranks, will no longer publicly ...
    Apr 3, 2012 – Richard Burwash was talking so that he could defend himself and ...Now Josh Powell wasn't prosecuted and we know what happened as a ...  WEST VALLEY CITY — Following widespread criticism of the West Valley City Police Department's handling of the Susan Powell case, city officials have announced they will no longer speak publicly about the investigation.

    Police Chief Thayle "Buzz" Nielsen met behind closed doors for about 30 minutes Tuesday evening with Mayor Mike Winder, members of the City Council and other city officials.

    "We appreciate the briefing we've received from staff today," Winder said following the meeting. "Due to an ongoing investigation, as elected officials, we won't be making any more comments on this matter."

    City spokesman Aaron Crim said the City Council closed the meeting to the public because it dealt with "reasonably imminent litigation."

    ...Nielsen defended his department's handling of the case Monday, saying, "If we could have arrested him, we would have."

    Lohra Miller, who was Salt Lake County's district attorney for about a year after Susan Powell disappeared, has said her office worked with West Valley police on the case but never formally considered filing criminal charges against Josh Powell because no body was found.

      Let's be real
      Salt Lake City, UT
      Good. They should not have been talking anyway. Its an ongoing investigation. Richard Burwash was talking so that he could defend himself and make himself look good for the upcoming election. I am not much of an armchair quarterback but with the information that I have seen here, there is no way that I could convict Josh (even though I really think he is guilty) with the evidence that they had. Some here are saying we should have thrown Josh in jail. Well, that's good. It would take a few minutes with a decent attorney to make the jury realize that the subjective case has a ton of reasonable doubt in it and turn him loose. Then the quarterbacks could have said, hey if you did your job correctly you could have convicted him. We need to be reasonable ourselves before expecting. I support those that have worked for years to try to put Josh away. The kids and Susan's deaths are the entire fault of Josh alone and not ANY agency including the Washington people (who are pointing at WVC police). May Josh forever be afraid. Susan finally won the custody battle.

      South Jordan, UT
      There needs to be a formal investigation into this travesty. It would be better for all of us if those whose irresponsibility got us to this point would simply resign before they are forced to do so.

      OREM, UT
      For sure WVPD made a huge mistake. I understand the risk of arresting Josh before finding Susan. But they'll never find her. Josh spent way too much time in the mountains. He had plenty of time to plan for the best place to hide the body. That said WVPD should have arrested Josh and taken their shot. The real tragedy and huge mistake was letting him see his children. WV had evidence of child porn on Josh's computer, but didn't share it with WA state until it was too late. Josh should never have had visitation rights period. WVPD could have done something about that and chose instead to wait until they found the body. That's indisputable.

      Merrimack, NH
      Utah law enforcement may just be slow. Wasn't it Federal prosecutors who finally took Elizabeth Smarts kidnapper to trial? It appeared that the State of Utah was never going to try him.

      Now Josh Powell wasn't prosecuted and we know what happened as a result of his freedom.

      It is the responsibility of law enforcement (Officers, prosecutors, judges and parole boards) to protect us. We all protest when lenient judges and parole boards that let violent offenders out, but this is just as bad.
      Farmington, UT
      One must wonder why the Mayor was all too happy to go on camera last summer and predict that an arrest was imminent. Now the only way we'll here anything else about the case is if Richard Burwash writes another article. If the PD didn't bungle the investigation, having Winder talk about it wasn't the coolest thing they could have done. All this leads me to believe that criminal Josh Powell was brighter than the investigators, who were constantly trying gimmics with the Cox family to force the issue with Josh Powell. Now only disfunctional Steven Powell remains as the best possible source of information. This is the unfortunate circumstance at present.
      El Chango Supremo
      Rexburg, ID
      How can anyone review the evidence on hand and not come the conclusion that that Josh Powell was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt?

      Requiring a body to convict sets a dangerous precedent a
      nd sends a message to criminals that if they can just dispose of a body, they'll get away with it.

      WVC Police blew it big tome!
      one old man
      Ogden, UT
      While I can understand the reluctance to arrest Josh (if he had been found not guilty by a jury, he could never have been tried again if her body had been found), I cannot get my head around why this information was not shared with authorities who determined custody of the boys.

      If the division of child welfare in Washington had had access to this information, could they have kept the kids away from Josh?
      Paul H
      West Valley, UT
      Johs Powell is 100% responsible for his actions. West Valley and Washington police are 100% responsible for their actions (or inaction). He was a suspect but they called him a "person of interest." Rather than conducting an INVESTIGATION and a PROSECUTION they chose to contuct PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE and play mind games with Josh Powell. I guess they were hoping that he would just crack under pressure and confess. Well, he finally cracked under pressure from them, and we all know what he did.
      • OUR VIEW: Powell case needs answers
        Apr 3, 2012 – Why wasn't Josh Powell arrested by West Valley City police soon after his wife, Susan, disappeared? It's a question that needs to be answered ...With the information that has been released in recent days, there doesn't seem to be a reason why Josh Powell could not have been arrested by police. The released search warrants in the case show that police found Susan Powell's blood in their West Valley home, evidence that Josh Powell was trying to clean it. The police found Susan's cell phone in Josh's car, absent its SIM card. Police knew that Charlie Powell, 4, had told them that Susan Powell had gone camping with them but had not returned. Three weeks later, Charlie told a Sunday School teacher, "my mom is dead." Police were also told by Susan Powell's family that she was afraid of her husband, and police had a signed letter from Susan -- left in a safe deposit box -- in which she warned others that she might be harmed. Police knew that Josh Powell had lied to his sister, Jennifer Graves, about his activities at the time Susan disappeared. Police knew long ago how sexually obsessed Josh Powell's father, Steve Powell, was with his daughter-in-law, Susan. Police knew Josh's last call prior to Susan's disappearance was to his father. Yet, this information was unknown to Susan's parents.

        What were the West Valley City police waiting for to arrest Josh Powell -- gift-wrapped invitation?

        We agree with Kirk Graves, Josh Powell's brother in law, that the West Valley Police Department needs to provide solid, legal reasons as to why there was never an arrest in the case. The police department needs to provide answers as to why it never even presented a case for prosecutors in Salt Lake City to screen.

        There are still search warrants that are sealed by West Valley authorities. They need to be opened. We understand that Susan Powell's disappearance is still an open case. But the subsequent murders that occurred have led to a reasonable examination of how West Valley City handled the case. West Valley City police need to provide an explanation for an investigation that ended so tragically for two little boys.

        1. West Valley City leaders discuss 'pending litigation' in aftermath of ...

 3, 2012
          WEST VALLEY CITY -- The police chief, mayor and city councilmet ... of Susan Cox Powell threatened a ...
        2. West Valley officials done talking about Susan Powell case |

 3, 2012
          WEST VALLEY CITY — Following widespread criticism of theWest Valley City Police Department's handling ...

      • West Valley mayor defends police handling of Susan Powell case

        Apr 2, 2012 – WEST VALLEY CITY -- The city's mayor is defending his police department's handling of the Susan Powell case, insisting it did everything it...
      2. Mayor Mike Winder seeks to make West Valley Utah's most business ...
        Jan 10, 2012 – WEST VALLEY CITY — 

      Hey, everyone that lives in West Valley City KNOWS that the West Valley Police Department only worries about the Speeding Fines from their overburdened Justice Court.  Many dollars are spent to devise Speed Traps along Bangerter Highway and for equipment to enforces their tickets.  Try calling them if you witness a Drive By and they don't even show up!  I know I did just that several years ago and am still waiting for an Officer to interview me!  They're only competent to write traffic tickets. 
      The West Valley Mayor, Mr. Winder even goes so far as to write Newspaper Articles under a fictitious name published by the local newspapers touting the "Greatness of West Valley City" and other personal opinions.  If the Mayor will lie about his own name, what else is suspicious about him and the rest of his Administration?  Need the U.S. Marshals to investigate the whole bunch of them!

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