Circumstantial evidence key in Steven Powell trial, former judge says

Published: Sunday, May 13 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

Cassell believes it was a good move for the defense to get Susan Powell's name out of the trial.

"I think it would divert (the jury's) attention to what they're supposed to be focusing on here," he said.

The judge, however, said he would allow prosecutors to present one diary passage from 2004 when Steven Powell wrote that he "likes taking video shots of pretty girls in shorts and skirts, beautiful women of every age."

The judge also allowed a Pierce County sheriff's detective to describe a few of the thousands of other photos that were found on a disc in Powell's bedroom. The disc included numerous sub-folders that contained pictures of young women and girls apparently taken throughout the Seattle and Tacoma region without their knowledge.

Many of the pictures appear to be taken from inside Powell's house looking out into the street or even into the bedrooms of neighbors. Several pictures displayed to the court during pretrial motions showed a series of photos looking into what appears to be a teen girl's bedroom window. The pictures include shots of the girl changing her clothes and some partial nudity.

Despite the information revealed in court last week that numerous young women and girls in Powell's neighborhood had been secretly photographed, many neighbors declined to speak to the Deseret News. Some claimed they did not have an opinion of what was shown in court, including the man who now lives in the house where the young girls were allegedly photographed.

But Stacey, who did not want her last name printed, said she believes the neighbors were reluctant to talk for a specific reason.

"I think they're all wanting to see justice served at this time," she said. "His son didn't pay for his issues. The father should at least pay for his."

Stacey, who has a 10-year-old daughter, said her house can be seen from Powell's bedroom window. Police came to her house one day while they were trying to identify victims and asked her to look at several photos. She said her daughter was not in the photographs she was shown.

Some neighbors still hang purple ribbons on their doors, Stacey said, which has become a symbol for remembering Susan Powell.

Likewise, residents who live near the Graham, Wash., property where Josh Powell murdered his two sons and committed suicide by setting his house on fire, have not been receptive to the media visiting their neighborhood.

At the site where Powell's house once stood, the rubble from the burned-down structure has been removed. A long piece of yellow crime tape is still tangled in a nearby tree. Several signs saying "Private Property, no trespassing" have been posted on the site.

Two crosses, left near the back of the property, still remain bearing the names of Charlie and Braden Powell.

Trial resumes Monday

Follow @DNewsCrimeTeam for Twitter updates throughout the trial. Live streaming video and audio of the trial will also be available at www.deseretnews.com.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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