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 2:00 p.m. MDT

Five prospective jurors were dismissed immediately when they said they had already developed strong opinions about the case and would have a very hard time being impartial.

One woman, who said her husband was a corrections officer, told Culpepper, "I probably can honestly and truly say I'm biased."

Another dismissed jury candidate told the judge, "I've already formed an opinion" based on media reports. A third said she has close friends who were neighbors of Chuck and Judy Cox and had also formed an opinion.

The remaining 65 prospective jurors were asked to fill out a 36-question form. Some of the questions asked if the prospective juror had heard about the Steven Powell case while another asked about opinions or attitudes regarding sexual assault or sexual misconduct.

When Culpepper asked the room of prospective jurors who had heard at least something about the Powell case, everyone raised their hands.

He told the remaining potential jurors to avoid all media reports about the case and not to talk to any of their friends or family members about it — even avoiding posting comments about it on their Facebook pages. Culpepper said attorneys were looking for jurors who could base their decisions only on the facts presented to them in court.

When asked outside the courtroom whether she believed Steven Powell could get a fair trial, Denise Cox replied, "I really don't care. My nephews are gone. My sister is gone. That whole family has taken my family away from me, and I really don't care what happens, I want him to stay behind bars for the rest of his life."

"I think he can get a fair trial," Chuck Cox said. "I just don't think he has any defense."

Opening arguments in the trial will likely be presented Wednesday. Culpepper said he had a scheduling conflict on Thursday and Friday and the case would probably be in recess during those days. The mother of the young girls is expected to take the witness stand Wednesday. The state said it anticipated calling its Utah witnesses to the stand on Monday and rest its case by the end of that day.

The defense has two potential witnesses on its list, both private investigators from the defense's office. But on Monday, defense attorneys hinted that they may not call any witnesses to the stand.

Alina Powell, Steven's daughter, was also present for Monday's hearing. She appeared to come by herself and sat in the back of the courtroom taking notes.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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