Steven Powell, the patriarch of one of Pierce County’s most notorious families, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of possessing child pornography, a count that originally was dismissed but later revived by the Washington State Court of Appeals.
Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered Powell, 64, jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail.
Deputy prosecutor Bryce Nelson had sought bail of $200,000, saying that’s the amount Powell was held on after his arrest in 2011 on charges of voyeurism and possessing child pornography.
Detectives searching Powell’s house for clues in the disappearance of his daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell, found photographs and videos of girls and women in various stages of undress. Some of the images were of two young girls who lived in a Puyallup-area house adjacent to Powell’s.
Defense attorney Jennifer Freeman argued that the tenor of the case had changed, pointing out that Steven Powell was convicted of the voyeurism counts in 2012, served 30 months in prison and was released this year.
He’s being monitored by the state Department of Corrections as part of his release from prison, Freeman argued in asking for a release on personal recognizance.
Foley admitted the tenor of the case has changed but decided some bail was appropriate.
Steve Powell, who now lives in Tacoma, was arrested Monday after Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist decided to reinstate the child-porn charge based on the appeals court ruling.
Appellate judges decided that Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper erred when he ordered that charge dismissed.
Powell is the father of Josh Powell, who was the husband of Susan Cox Powell when she went missing from their Utah home in 2009.
The Puyallup native is presumed murdered, and Josh Powell was a prime suspect in her disappearance when he killed their two young sons and himself in Pierce County in 2012.