TACOMA, Wash. — Prosecutors are not considering a plea with Steven Powell, who is headed to trial on voyeurism charges, in exchange for information about what he might know about his missing daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell.
"There's been absolutely no discussion of it," Pierce County assistant prosecutor Grant Blinn said Friday.
Despite speculation in the news media about whether a plea deal would be offered, he said it's a topic that no one has brought up with his office. He said he has never personally spoken to the Cox family, whose daughter was married to Steven Powell's son, Josh Powell, when she went missing in December 2009.
"Our focus is holding Steven Powell accountable for Pierce County," Blinn said.
Meanwhile, attorney Anne Bremner — who represents Susan Powell's parents, Chuck and Judy Cox — has made a public records request of both the West Valley Police Department and the Pierce County Sheriff's Office for "complete copies of any and all investigative files concerning the disappearance of Susan Cox Powell."
Steven Powell has been in custody since September when he was charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of materials of minors engaged in explicit conduct. The family of Susan Powell believes that Steven Powell knows what happened to her.
Josh Powell, considered by many the prime suspect in Susan's disappearance, killed himself and the couple's two young sons in February in Graham, Wash.
Earlier this week, a judge ruled evidence seized from Powell's house in August that led to charges against Steven Powell would be allowed during his trial scheduled to begin May 7.
After the ruling, Chuck Cox was asked by reporters if he would agree to a plea bargain in exchange for information regarding his daughter.
"We think the police are going to find where Susan is. And we think it's important to keep Steve off the streets. We think it's important for the public safety and if it meant him going free, then absolutely not. If it means some type of reduction that would still require a significant prison stay for him, then possibly," he said.
The husband of Jennifer Graves, the estranged daughter of Steven Powell, said he was surprised to hear Blinn's comments.
"I'd have thought that would be an obvious thing on their minds," Kirk Graves said.
But Graves said he understood that the upcoming trial is really about crimes allegedly committed against two young neighbor girls in Puyallup, Wash.
"Because of the nature of what (Steven Powell) has done, (a plea deal) would be entirely up to the mom and the two girls he has victimized already," he said. "I don't think we have any right to promote that idea at the expense of the mother he has already victimized."
Police reportedly seized thousands of photographs from Powell's home, many of young girls who were nude or partially nude. He was charged with taking pictures of two girls, then ages 8 and 10, through an open window into their bathroom without their knowledge in 2006 and 2007. The pictures were taken secretly with a telephoto lens.
Bremner also represents the two young girls in Steven Powell's case. She has made a public records request for the police reports involving that investigation.
She has also made a request of West Valley police seeking "all incident reports, detective follow-up reports, forensic analysis reports, evidence records, evidence receipts, officer and civilian witness statements, audio and video recordings, surveillance tapes, photographs, and written summaries and transcripts of any and all interviews of witnesses, suspects or person of interest" concerning their investigation into Susan Powell.
The Coxes are also seeking "all written and electronic communications, meeting agendas and minutes, memos, correspondence, reports and information transmitted to or received from the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, the Pierce County Prosecutor's Office, the West Valley City Mayor's Office and the West Valley City Council."
Although the law does allow police to keep some records sealed, Bremner said "the exemption applies only where disclosure would compromise the investigation or violate an individual's right to privacy. Neither factor is at issue here."
Bremner said the notion that the records should remain sealed because it's still an "ongoing investigation" shouldn't apply because "the subject of the investigation is dead."
"I don't have any reason of substance to believe there's somebody out there where release of the records would compromise their ability to investigate that person. If they're talking about Steven Powell, he's in custody," Bremner said.
Bremner said the Cox family is allowed the same privileges as the defendant. She said the information would be for the Coxes only and not something they would share with the public.
She noted that a lot of information had already been released in the search warrants unsealed in Washington and it did not seem to compromise West Valley's investigation.
Bremner noted that hearing the bits and pieces of information that have come out have been hard on the Coxes and they would like to read a full narration of what police knew for themselves.
The police departments have 10 days to respond to the public records requests.
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