May 9, 2012 at 8:44 PM
Testimony begins in Steve Powell’s voyeurism trial in Tacoma
The Associated Press
The voyeurism trial of a missing Utah woman’s father-in-law took on the tenor of a creepy slideshow Wednesday, as jurors saw images of young neighbor girls he is accused of filming — and then heard testimony from the girls themselves.
Steve Powell, 62, is the father of the late Josh Powell and father-in-law of Susan Powell, who disappeared from her home in West Valley City, Utah, in late 2009. In February, Josh Powell, who had moved to Washington state, attacked his two sons with a hatchet and ignited an explosive fire in which he and the boys died.
Steve Powell was arrested last September, after investigators searching his home for evidence in Susan Powell’s disappearance came across computer disks with what they described as thousands of images of women and girls who seemed unaware they were being photographed.
Those filmed, prosecutors say, included the neighbor girls, who were about 8 and 10 when the images were recorded.
Among the images recovered from Steve Powell’s home were many of Susan Powell that appeared to have been filmed without her knowledge, investigators said. There were also journals in which Steve Powell detailed his obsession with Susan Powell, they said.
Much of that evidence has been barred from the trial as unduly prejudicial against the defendant. Steve Powell is not charged with acts of voyeurism involving Susan Powell because authorities can’t prove she didn’t know about the filming.
Defense attorney Mark Quigley told jurors during his opening statement Wednesday that he did not expect Steve Powell to testify.
Steve Powell faces 14 counts of voyeurism.
The first witness in the case was Pierce County sheriff’s detective Gary Sanders, who described how detectives found the photos. The images were projected on a screen turned away from courtroom spectators.
In cross-examining the detective and the mother of the girls, Quigley elicited that other adult men lived in the home at the time — Josh Powell and one of his brothers — raising the specter that someone other than Steve Powell might have recorded the images.
The trial is expected to resume next Monday.
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