Steven Powell 'got what he deserved,' family of Susan Powell says
Prosecutor has no plans to bargain for info about missing Utahn
TACOMA, Wash. — In the end, the sister of missing Utah mother Susan Cox Powell believes Steven Powell "got what he deserved."
Powell, 62, was convicted Wednesday on all 14 counts of voyeurism for which he was charged. A six-man, six-woman jury took about 6½ hours to deliberate over the course of two days before reaching its decision.
Susan Powell's family, including her sister Denise Cox and parents Chuck and Judy Cox, were relieved when they heard the verdict. Even though Susan's name was all but removed from the trial through pretrial motions and the charges against Steven Powell had nothing to do with her, Susan's family attended each day of the trial hoping to hear some bit of information about their daughter.
Now there are questions about whether any deal will be struck for any information Powell might have about his missing daughter-in-law, in exchange for a more lenient sentence.
But Pierce County prosecutor Grant Blinn said a more lenient sentence in exchange for information is not something being considered.
"That's never been discussed and I don't expect it will be discussed," he said outside the courtroom. "We have no plans to offer him any type of reduction in exchange for information."
Powell is scheduled to be sentenced June 15. The average penalty range for his type of crime is 43 to 57 months in prison. Blinn said, however, he will request a stronger sentence. Each voyeurism count carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison.
Powell will receive a sentence for each of the 14 charges. The judge could order that they all run concurrently. But Blinn said because of the multiple offenses, which is an aggravating circumstance in this case, he will ask the judge to run some of the sentences consecutively, meaning Powell wouldn't begin serving time on one charge until he completes serving time on the other charge first.
"I am so relieved, so relieved," Powell's estranged daughter Jennifer Graves said of the verdict. "So much tension was building during this last week."
She said she hopes her father receives a harsh sentence for the crimes.
"I hope it (time behind bars) goes higher than lower. I'd like to see him off the streets for quite a while. For my peace of mind and other people's safety," she said from her West Jordan home.
While many congratulatory hugs were exchanged in the hallway of the courthouse, Graves' sister, Alina Powell, stayed in the courtroom for more than an hour after the verdicts were read, crying for much of that time. She attended every day of her father's trial, sitting in the back by herself taking notes.
"My family was automatically convicted 2½ years ago and ever since then I've lost a sister-in-law, a sister, a brother, two darling nephews and a great father to an unimaginably complicated, difficult situation that even I have a hard time understanding sometimes," she said in a soft voice with tears still in her eyes after emerging from the courtroom.
Alina Powell did not want to answer questions about the merits of the state's case or whether she believed her father received a fair trial.
Steven Powell was expressionless as each of the guilty verdicts were announced. After the first seven guilty verdicts were read by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper, Powell seemed to look away and blankly stare off at the courtroom to the judge's right.
After the verdict was read, Chuck Cox said he was relieved but not surprised.
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