LATEST: Couple sentenced in fatal child neglect case

Mercer County
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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020: A sentencing hearing was held in Mercer County in a deadly child neglect case. Candice Jones and John Powers went before Judge Wills on Monday, Oct. 19.

Jones will serve three to 15 years for Child Neglect Resulting in Death. John Powers will serve 15 years to life.

Powers was sentenced for two to 10 years for Child Neglect Resulting in Death and 15 years to Life for Death of a Child by a Parent or Guardian. Powers sentences will run back to back

Joseph Garbosky was just two-years-old when he died in 2018 from injuries inflicted by Powers. Doctors at Charleston Area Medical Center the cause of death was brain injuries, but there were older injuries as well.


3:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020: The mother of 2-year-old Joseph Garbosky, who was killed in 2018, is headed to prison. Candice Jones pleaded guilty on Thursday, Oct. 1 to one count of Child Neglect Resulting in Death

The boy died with brain injuries at Charleston Area Medical Center in Aug. 2018. There were also other older injuries observed by doctors.

Jones faces from three to 15 years in prison. She will be sentenced in front of Judge Mark Wills on Oct. 9, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.


3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17, 2018 UPDATE:  A hearing was held in a Mercer County courtroom on Thursday to lower the bond for Candice Jones and John Powers.  The couple is facing charges for the death of 2-year-old Joseph Garbosky.

A judge agreed to change the terms of their bonds.  Powers bond was changed from a $500,000 cash only bond to a $1 million dollar surety bond.  Jones bond was also $500,000 cash only, but it was changed to a surety bond for the same dollar amount.

Both suspects are still in the Southern Regional Jail


4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 UPDATE:  According the Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney’s office, the mother of Joseph Garbosky went before a judge on Thursday.  Candice Jones had a preliminary hearing.

An Assistant Prosecutor told 59News that probable cause was found in the case.  It will now go to the next session of the grand jury.  Jones is charged with death of a child by a parent and child abuse causing injury.


11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 UPDATE:  Preliminary hearings were scheduled for the two suspects in the death of 2-year-old Joseph Garbosky.  The hearing for Joseph’s mother Candice Jones was scheduled for Thursday morning, but that was pushed to the afternoon.

A hearing for Jones’ boyfriend, John Powers, was scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 15.  Powers’ waived the time limit for his hearing.  It is now scheduled for Sept. 4. 


ORIGINAL STORY: 12:43 p.m. Aug. 13, 2018: A mother and her boyfriend are charged in the death of 2-year-old child Joseph Garbosky.  The investigation began on Aug. 8, 2018 when doctors at Charleston Area Medical Center alerted Mercer County Child Protect about the victim who was on life support and not expected to live.  The boy was officially pronounced dead on Friday, Aug. 10.

In addition to brain injuries, doctors told investigators that the victim had several older injuries that were healing.  These included broken bones and a third degree burn. Sgt. Melissa Clemons with the West Virginia State Police said that abuse was an immediate sign.

“He had some healing fractures to his ribs and to his left scapula, also his retinas were hemorrhaged which is a sign that the child had been pretty shaken, and he had severe bleeding in the brain,” said Clemons. 

Sgt. Clemons spoke with the boy’s mother, Candice Jones, who told them John Powers had been physically abusive toward the victim for around three to four weeks.  This included treating an arm injury with a heated Meal Ready to Eat (MRE).  Jones said that is what caused the third degree burn.

Jones told troopers that the brain injuries were caused during an incident which started with potty training.  Powers allegedly became enraged and shook the boy and eventually “body-slammed him into the tub.”  That is when the victim fell limp.

When questioned about whether or not she had intervened, Jones advised investigators that she told Powers to stop.  She said she did not physically help the boy because she was afraid of Powers, and he had threatened to kill her on several occasions if she called the police.

When troopers questioned Powers, he claimed he had never hurt the victim.  He maintained his innocence when he was advised that the injuries were not accidental and could only have been caused by abuse.

John Powers, 46, and Candice Jones, 31, were both arrested in connection with the case.  Powers is charged with second degree murder, death of a child by a parent or guardian and child abuse with injury.  Jones is charged with death of a child by a parent or guardian and child abuse with injury.  They are both being held in the Southern Regional Jail on $500,000 cash only bond each.

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