Will Steven Powell diaries obsessing over Susan be admitted in trial?

Judge dismisses child porn charge; he still faces 14 voyeurism charges

Published: Monday, May 7 2012 7:21 p.m. MDT

As early as May 11, 2010, police found "multiple images of Susan (that) were located in a locked cabinet in the defendant's bedroom," according to prosecution memorandum filed in court. Some of the images were taken "through a slightly opened door without her knowledge." Prosecutors say Steven Powell told investigators that some were taken from his son Josh Powell's computer without his knowledge.

Another recording discovered was of Steven Powell gratifying himself while looking at pictures of Susan he had set up on a television screen. Police later recovered numerous files with subcategories that contained pictures of Susan Powell, including one that contained photos focused on her buttocks and another with pictures of her breast feeding.

From a search warrant served in August, police discovered hundreds of videos Powell allegedly recorded of other women and girls. Prosecutors say the files were organized by descriptions of the women, dates and locations.

Other categories of digital files included women from Albertson's, close-ups of women putting groceries in their cars and others titled, "DMV girl," "Tacoma Mall," "gum-chewing cutie," "JWs or Mormons" and "young teen volleyball player."

The files concerning his current case were labeled, "neighbors" and "taking bath-1," "taking bath-2," and "open window in back house," according to court documents. Prosecutors say there were more than 2,000 images of the young girls.

Prosecutor Grant Blinn argued the hundreds of images show that Powell knowingly possessed and created these pictures for his own sexual gratification.

"Repeated admissions by the defendant that he is a voyeur and is sexually aroused or gratified by viewing such images are directly relevant to the issue, and extremely compelling direct evidence that the defendant committed the crimes charged in order to obtain sexual gratification," Blinn wrote in the memorandum arguing that the diaries and photos should be admitted as evidence.      

Some of the materials prosecutors want to use in the trial include 35 pages of West Valley police reports outlining the many other discs with pornographic material found during the search of Powell's house.

The defense, however, is objecting to additional pictures being presented or even discussed, saying the 20 pictures the prosecution wants to introduce will prejudice the jury.

"These are not well representative of the vast majority of photos that are on the disc," Currie said, adding that the majority of pictures on the discs are clean photos of family members and self-portraits.

Powell, dressed in a gray suit with a violet tie, sat with his hands clasped tightly during most of the discussion Monday and appeared at times to be slightly shaking.

While the majority of the day was spent selecting a jury and arguing pretrial motions, it was discussion about Powell's own diaries that generated the strongest reactions from the family of Susan Powell.

"It was really surprising to me the extent of his infatuation with my daughter," Chuck Cox said of Steven Powell during a recess Monday. "Clearly he had no idea that (anybody) was ever going to read those journals."

Susan Powell's family — including her father, mother and sister, Denise Cox — were shocked to hear about some of the graphic content of the diaries. Chuck Cox said it makes him wonder even more what role Steven Powell played in Susan's disappearance.

Denise Cox was also upset that Powell seemed to show little expression or remorse as attorneys talked about his diaries.

"Just like it was a normal, average day, like nothing was affecting him. He doesn't understand how much turmoil and how much grief their family has put our family through," Denise Cox said. "He has no remorse in the course for anything he's done. And hearing all that, all the pictures, the images and the journal entries … they should all be admitted because she's one of the victims in this case, and therefore the journal entries he wrote on her should be admitted. It shows how sick he is."

Seventy potential jurors were asked to fill out questionnaires Monday. From them, the court hopes to select a jury of 12.

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