• Opening statements start in Steven Powell's child porn trial

    By: Kevin McCarty

    Updated:

    PIERCE CO., Wash. - Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday in a child pornography trial for Steven Powell.

    Powell was convicted in 2012 on 14 counts of voyeurism for repeatedly videotaping two neighbor girls, ages eight and 10, from his bedroom window as they used the bathroom in their South Hill home.
     
    Powell's trial is for child pornography charges dismissed by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper during his trial in 2012.  Those charges were reinstated by the Washington State Appeals Court in 2014.
     
    A jury was selected for his trial Tuesday morning.  

    It was the investigation into his son Josh Powell that landed Steven Powell in prison in 2012 and back in a Pierce County courtroom Tuesday.
     
    In 2011, detectives from Utah were focusing on Josh Powell in the disappearance of his wife Susan, when they claimed they found videos and pictures of two little girls ages 10 and 8 on discs belonging to Steven Powell during a search of his South Hill home.
     
    Prosecutors say the 64-year-old Powell took the pictures while hiding in his bedroom secretly shooting into the window of a family bathroom next door. Then kept them carefully categorized in digital folders.
     
    “Were the three folders titled taking bath one, taking bath two and open window in back of house?” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Bryce Nelson asked Pierce County sheriff’s Detective Gary Sanders.

    “Yes it was,” Sanders responded from the witness stand.
     
    Sanders testified that there were numerous images of the two during what they thought were private moments. Pointing to images shown to jurors Sanders described the pictures in graphic detail. “This one’s of the older sister and she’s using the restroom,” Sanders said during testimony.
     
    After Steven Powell's arrest on voyeurism and child porn charges in 2011 his son Josh killed himself and his two sons by blowing up their home in Graham during a protracted battle with Susan Cox Powell’s parents over custody of the children.
     
    Steven Powell was later convicted of voyeurism and sent to prison in 2012,  but a Pierce County Superior Court judge threw out child porn charges. An appeals court re-instated them after Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist filed an appeal.
     
    On Tuesday Powell's attorney argued there was no way to prove the images were taken by or belonged to Steve Powell.

    “You knew there were multiple other people living there, right?” Travis Currie asked. “Yes,” Sanders responded.
     
    Powell had said he would act as his own attorney but allowed Currie to conduct the opening of the case with no explanation. The trial is on hold until Thursday awaiting detectives from Valley City, Utah, who originally found the discs they said belonged to Powell.

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