TACOMA, Wash. – The voyeurism trial of Steven Powell began Wednesday with jurors seeing dozens of photos of girls in a bathroom.
Powell is charged with 14 counts of felony voyeurism. A judge threw out the child pornography charge against him on Monday.
The trial is garnering additional attention because of Steven Powell’s son, Josh.
Josh Powell is suspected in the disappearance of his wife, Susan, in Utah in 2009. Josh Powell killed himself and his two young sons in February after setting fire to his Graham, Wash., home.
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Before opening statements began, attorneys and the judge looked over hundreds of photos of young girls taken from Steven Powell’s computer, including:
- A girl in a van who was either scratching or touching herself.
- Girls walking around in the neighborhood
- A teenage girl in her bedroom appearing to be dancing and changing clothes. The girl could also be seen in a cheerleader uniform.
- Photos of Susan Powell.
- A self-portrait of Steven Powell in his underwear, taken in a bathroom mirror, and videos of him, apparently nude, urinating and masturbating.
The judge allowed the photos of the girl touching herself and the girls in the neighborhood to be admitted as evidence, as well as the images of Steven Powell. The photos of Susan Powell were not admitted because the judge said she was not an alleged victim in the voyeurism case.
The jury was brought in to begin opening statements. The prosecutor told jurors Steven Powell took hundreds of photos of girls naked in their bathroom without their knowledge and did it for sexual gratification. They also claim to have journal entries of Powell's that prove he is a voyeur.
Powell’s attorney, Mark Quigley, was the first to bring up Susan Powell's name. He told the jury the case is not about Susan, but about whether the state can prove Steven Powell is a voyeur.
Pierce County Sheriff’s Detective Gary Sanders took the stand first. He said police found CDs of photos in Powell’s bedroom. Jurors were shown images of two girls, ages 8 and 9, who were allegedly videotaped by Powell while they were going to the bathroom.
Police say the photos were taken in 2006 when the girls lived behind Powell's Puyallup home.
Prosecutors say Powell could see the girls in the bathroom because a window and the bathroom door were left open.
The girl's mother explained why:
“My youngest one was always afraid to be by herself so she would always ask me … she would yell down to me ‘Mom!’ And I would say ‘I’m here!’ and that was just fine,” she said.
She testified she had no idea anyone was taking pictures of her girls and never gave anyone permission to do that.
Defense attorneys told jurors to be very critical of all the evidence, saying the state does not have enough evidence to prove Steven Powell took the pictures.
Twelve jurors and two alternates were selected out of a pool of 70 potential jurors.
KING 5's Travis Pittman compiled information for this report.