Search warrant ruled legal; Powell to stand trial in May

Search warrant ruled legal; Powell to stand trial in May

Search warrant ruled legal; Powell to stand trial in May

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on April 24, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 24 at 11:15 AM

TACOMA -- A Pierce County judge ruled Tuesday that a warrant used to collect evidence in the upcoming voyeurism trial against Steven Powell was obtained legally.

The decision was made by Judge Ronald Culpepper following a hearing Monday in which Powell's attorneys argued the warrant violated the Fourth Amendment.

Powell will stand trial May 7 for 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possessing pictures of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Powell is accused of taking pictures and video of children in his neighborhood without their permission. The evidence was discovered by police during a raid of Powell's home last fall, while officers were investigating the disappearance of his daughter-in-law, Susan Powell.

Judge Culpepper said police had probable cause to seize Susan's journals, which were believed to be in the home, and other digital material.

Susan went missing in Utah in December 2009 while married to Steven's son, Josh Powell. Josh killed his two sons and himself in February by causing a gasoline explosion at his Graham home.

Culpepper added that it was reasonable for police to believe Steven and his son Josh discussed Susan's disappearance.

Chuck Cox, Susan’s father said he hopes putting Steven Powell on trial will help investigators locate Susan. However, Cox said he would not be in favor for letting Powell out of jail in exchange for information about Susan’s whereabouts.

“We think it’s important to keep Steve off the streets,” said Cox.

Powell’s daughter, Alina, said she disagrees with the judge’s ruling. She believes police used illegal means to write the warrant and said they “fabricated” evidence against her father.

When asked if her father will get a fair trial, Powell said, “I doubt it.”

KING 5's Drew Mikkelsen contributed to this report.

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