Photographs that led to voyeurism charges against Steven Powell should be dismissed because they were obtained through an illegal search, his lawyer argued Monday. Steven Powell is the father of Josh Powell, whose wife, Susan, has been missing since 2009. Josh Powell killed himself and the couple's two sons earlier this year.
OLYMPIA — An attorney for Steven Powell said Monday that investigators frustrated by their unsuccessful quest to find Powell’s missing daughter-in-law pursued an “illegal” warrant that eventually led to voyeurism charges.
Mark Quigley argued that evidence gathered during a search of Powell’s home last summer should be suppressed, seeking to undermine the prosecution’s case just a few weeks before trial. Powell’s daughter-in-law, Susan, disappeared in 2009.
Authorities said the warrant uncovered thousands of images of females — including Susan Powell — being videotaped without their knowledge. Some of the girls were as young as 8.
Steven Powell has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin in two weeks.
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Quigley said the warrant was a fishing expedition designed to gather general evidence against Susan Powell’s husband, Josh, who eventually killed himself and the couple’s two young children earlier this year.
“This investigation was stale,” Quigley said. “The police were frustrated.”
The warrant was focused largely on collecting some of Susan Powell’s journals from when she was younger. Prosecutor Grant Blinn said the warrant was justified in part because investigators needed to pursue all aspects in their effort to find her.
“They need to look into all the leads … into who she had relationships with and the nature and extent of those relationships,” he said.
Judge Ronald Culpepper said he may rule Tuesday on the motion to suppress the evidence.
Steven Powell stood quietly during Monday’s hearing, with sandals covering bare feet and shackles around his ankles. In the gallery, both sides of the divided family watched.
Investigators have said they are still interested in speaking with Steven Powell about the disappearance of his daughter-in-law. They say he has been uncooperative in that investigation.
Steven Powell’s bedroom also contained images of nude female bodies with Susan Powell’s face copied onto them, authorities said in court documents.
In a different set of journals investigators have described in court documents, Susan Powell described Steven Powell as a pedophile.