Jones and Powers

Candice Jones, left, and John Powers.

PRINCETON — A mother and her boyfriend charged in the brutal beating death of a 2-year-old toddler have been indicted by the Mercer County Grand Jury on multiple felony counts.

Candice Jones, 31, and John Colan Powers, 46, both of Green Valley, were arrested in August following the death of Jones’ son, Joseph “JoJo” Garbosky III.

According to court documents, Powers reportedly body slammed the child into a bathtub, inflicted a third-degree burn on his arm and engaged in abuse that resulted in several broken bones, retinal hemorrhages, brain bleeds and subdural hematomas/blood clots.

Jones witnessed the abuse, but did not attempt to physically intervene, according to a criminal complaint filed earlier this year by West Virginia State Police Sgt. M.D. Clemons, with the West Virginia State Police Crimes Against Children unit,

Following Wednesday’s culmination of the Mercer County Grand Jury, Jones and Powers were indicted on charges including: death of a child by parent or guardian by abuse, child neglect resulting in death, child neglect creating a substantial risk of bodily injury or death, child abuse resulting in injury and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.

Powers was also indicted on additional charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury.

Powers was the live-in boyfriend of Jones at the time alleged child abuse occurred.

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The case against Powers and Jones began on Aug. 8 when the two brought Jojo to Bluefield Regional Medical Center for treatment. The child was subsequently transported to a Charleston hospital due to his extensive injuries.

Child Protective Services were then notified and Clemons, was called in to investigate.

At an preliminary hearing for Jones, Clemons testified that she traveled to the Charleston hospital and spoke to medical personnel regarding the toddler’s injuries.

Jojo’s injuries included retinal hemorrhages, brain bleeds, subdural hematomas/blood clots, healing third-degree burns on his right arm, a healing left scapular fracture and right-rib fracture, both of which were more than 14 days old, and a corner fracture of his right upper arm.

According to the criminal complaint field by Clemons, a Child Protective Service worker told her that Jones admitted to witnessing abuse of the child by Powers.

In a later interview with Clemons, Jones also admitted to seeing Powers abuse her son, the criminal complaint states. The incident occurred while Powers was attempting to potty-train the toddler.

“Ms. Jones stated that she observed Mr. Powers strike (the child) approximately there to four times on his bottom with a belt and put him in the bathtub,” Clemons stated in her complaint.

Powers then became angry because the toddler “was squirming,” the complaint continues, and subsequently slammed him face-first on the floor, struck him repeatedly in the face with an open hand, called him “a retard” for not being able to use the potty,” and then shook him violently for three to five minutes “with both hands by the throat and the back of his head.”

When urine was spilled out of the potty chair during the incident, Powers became infuriated and body-slammed the child into the bathtub, according to the criminal complaint.

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Both Powers and Jones were arrested in August. Following the grand jury indictments, their cases will now be set for trial.

— Contact Samantha Perry at sperry@bdtonline.com

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