West Virginia mom, boyfriend sentenced in neglect death of 2-year-old
Mercer County
Candice Jones will serve three to 15 years for child neglect resulting in death. John Powers will serve 15 years to life.

By Douglas Fritz, WVNS

PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVNS) -- A sentencing hearing was held in Mercer County in a fatal 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.


Powers was initially indicted on an additional charge of second-degree murder, but both defendants received plea deals on October 1, the Beckley Register-Herald reports.


Joseph Garbosky was 2 years old when he died in August 2018 from injuries inflicted by Powers. Doctors at Charleston Area Medical Center the cause of death was brain injuries. Powers was Jones' boyfriend at the time.

In addition to brain injuries, doctors told investigators that the victim had several older injuries that were healing, including broken bones and a third-degree burn.

“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 West Virginia State Police Sgt. Melissa Clemons.

Jones told police 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.

Jones told police 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.

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