Testimony wraps up in Steven Powell trial; jury to deliberate Tuesday
TACOMA, Wash. — She wasn't on the witness stand for a long time. And she didn't add much to what the jury had already heard.
But all eyes were on Steven Powell's oldest daughter, Jennifer Graves, Monday as she testified against her father in his voyeurism trial.
"It was short and sweet and to the point, and I didn't really have much to contribute but I think it obviously was important, so I did what I had to do," she said after.
The voyeurism trial of Steven Powell moved very quickly Monday. The jury was excused for the day after three prosecution witnesses took the stand in just 90 minutes and the defense rested without calling anyone to the stand.
When they return Tuesday morning, jurors will hear closing arguments from both the prosecution and defense, and then decide whether Powell is guilty of 14 counts of voyeurism. He is accused of taking photographs of two young sisters from his bedroom looking into the bathroom window of the girls' home next door. The photographs were taken in 2006 when the girls were 8 and 10 years old.
Prosecutors called their final three witnesses to the stand Monday, including Graves and two West Valley City police officers who assisted in the search of Steven Powell's home in August of 2011.
Graves' and her father's eyes met only momentarily. She said she really couldn't see her father from where she was sitting, but noted it was "probably better just not to look at him," and described being called to the witness stand as "slightly tense."
She did, however, see her sister Alina sitting in the back of the courtroom. The two have not been on speaking terms since her father was arrested.
"No, I don't really talk to Alina. There's not really much point. We're on two sides of the coin here," she said.
Graves was asked to identify her father's house and talked about its layout. She also was asked to identify a passage from Powell's diary shown to the jury.
"Yeah, this looks like my dad's handwriting," she testified.
The defense has tried to raise doubts in the minds of jurors that Steven Powell actually took the photos of the young girls, noting there were other people living in the house at the time.
Graves, however, testified that her brother John Powell, who is bipolar, was kicked out of the house by her father in June of 2006 because of "violent tendencies." He was hospitalized for a little while, then lived at another home, she said. By 2010, John was back in the Powell house, but Graves wasn't sure exactly when he returned. She also noted that her brother Michael was serving in the Army at the time.
Although prosecutors couldn't ask her directly if she believed her father took the pictures of the young girls, Graves said outside the courtroom that she had no doubt.
"Oh, I know he took those pictures," she said. "He's had a pornography problem for as long as I can remember. And with pornography, you don't sit on the fence. You either get worse or you get better. You take steps to improve and get that out of your life or you go down the other path and you end up doing worse and worse things. So it's not a surprise at all to me he's ended up where he's at now."
Chuck Cox, the father of missing West Valley mother Susan Cox Powell — Steven Powell's daughter-in-law — said he was surprised that prosecutors didn't question Graves more extensively about her father.
"She didn't testify to anything that I saw," he said. "It is very courageous of her to come and be willing to go to court, because there's a potential she could have been asked a whole lot more questions. … The attorneys are asking the questions they feel they need to prove the case they brought."
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