The police have misrepresented Susan's writings in bad faith. —Alina Powell, daughter of Steven Powell
TACOMA, Wash. — While there wasn't a lot of activity inside the courtroom of the Steven Powell trial Tuesday afternoon, there was a lot of buzz outside.
While waiting for the jury to reach a decision, his daughter Alina Powell launched a new website to give her family's side of the story. She said the website has been in the works for awhile.
The page is called "West Valley and Pierce County Malfeasance" with the subtitle, "False claims about Susan and Steve."
Alina Powell, who has sat in the back of the courtroom each day of the trial taking notes and has refused most all interviews after court each day, says on the website that police "are trying to push the idea that Susan (Powell) hated Steve Powell and couldn't stand being around him."
She further contends that both West Valley police and the Pierce County Sheriff's Office have "made a habit throughout the investigation of making claims and then failing to support those claims with any evidence."
"(The website) is not related to the case, it's not about trying to affect that. That's why I waited," were among the few words she offered outside the courthouse Tuesday.
Alina Powell claims police have twisted the words of missing Utah mother Susan Cox Powell and insists Susan never feared her father-in-law.
"The police have misrepresented Susan's writings in bad faith," she wrote.
She posted several home videos of her nephews Charlie and Braden Powell interacting with their grandfather Steven Powell. In February, both boys were killed by their father, Josh Powell, who also killed himself. The boys' mother, Susan Powell, is also in some of the videos.
Before each video on the website (sites.google.com/site/westvalleymalfeasance), Alina Powell specifically addresses some of the most outspoken critics of her family, including her estranged sister, Jennifer Graves; Susan's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox; Susan's best friend Kiirsi Hellwell; and Susan's former Utah neighbor Debbie Caldwell.
"The trial will conclude (Tuesday) one way or another," Alina Powell told ABC News. "I waited to put things out so as not to interfere with Dad's case, but I've long been tired of seeing people say things they don't really know anything about. (The website) is just kind of to start putting the truth and balance into this stuff."
Alina Powell said she released the video to clear up misconceptions about the relationship between Susan Powell and Alina Powell's father, Susan's father-in-law.
"What other people are saying is that Susan hated my dad so much that she wouldn't have tolerated even the mere presence of him, was deathly afraid of him, or whatever they've tried to claim about her," she said. "But these videos show, at minimum, she at least tolerated him, and was perfectly comfortable with her and her kids being around him. I wouldn't presume to put words in her mouth about whether she loved being around him, but she certainly wasn't adamantly opposed to their spending time with him like others have suggested."
Powell became a bit emotional when discussing the videos she posted of her nephews.
"When I watch the videos, it's just sweet family moments," she said.
Friends and family members responded Tuesday to the website.
"It's apparent to me from the way Susan acts/looks/talks that she is not enjoying her time around Steve Powell," Hellewell posted on her Twitter account, adding it was "sad how some people refuse to wake up to reality. Lots of lies/untruths."
Seattle attorney Anne Bremner, who represents both the two young girls at the heart of the Steven Powell voyeurism trial as well as the Cox family, said she was with Susan Powell's father, Chuck Cox, when they were told about the website.
"We looked at it together. What Chuck wanted to say was, 'Alina is hurt, she is going through a difficult time with her family and it's understandable she may be lashing out at a time like this,'" Bremner said. "It doesn't show, anyway, that Steven and Susan were close or any of the things that were claimed."
Susan Powell's parents and friends in Utah have previously said that part of the reason Susan left Puyallup, Wash., for West Valley City was to get away from Steven Powell because of his unwanted advances.
Among those allegations:
• Susan told Graves that Steven Powell once asked her why he couldn't "just share" her with her husband. "It totally freaked her out," Graves said, adding that Susan never trusted him.
• Former neighbor Michele Oreno said Susan and Josh got into a heated argument at her house and Susan told her that her father-in-law had made advances on her. "She really, really despised him. She did not like him at all, did not want to be around him," Oreno said. "She called him 'evil' many times."
Oreno said Susan Powell told her that Steven Powell had tried to kiss her in a romantic way and tried other inappropriate actions. "She said if he ever came to Utah he was not to set foot in their home. She would not have her home destroyed by him," Oreno recalled.
• Debbie Caldwell, who cared for the Powell children for 19 months leading up to Susan's disappearance, also said Susan told her Steven Powell made inappropriate advances on her. She said that Susan told her she refused to sleep in the same home as her father-in-law and she did not want her children staying in his house.
Prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to admit evidence during Powell's trial that showed he had a disturbing obsession with his daughter-in-law, including sexually graphic videos of him looking at pictures of her pasted onto a television screen.11 comments on this story
In his own diaries, Steven Powell talked about stalking his daughter-in-law, taking secret videos of her — including some from underneath a bathroom door — and secretly watching Susan from a hallway.
The judge overseeing his trial called the images and journal entries "strange" and "disturbing," but said they were too prejudicial to admit as evidence.