Steven Craig Powell’s dirty little secret once again is being aired before a Pierce County jury.
Already convicted of multiple counts of voyeurism for surreptitiously photographing young neighbor girls while they were in various stages of undress, Powell went on trial Tuesday for allegedly stockpiling the photos and video for his prurient interests.
“This case is about the defendant’s secret,” deputy prosecutor Bryce Nelson said during his opening statement.
Powell, 64, is charged with one count of possessing child pornography. The charge was dismissed at the trial level but later revived by the Washingtom State Court of Appeals at the request of prosecutors.
Nelson told jurors Powell took the photos and video in 2006 and 2007 from his own bedroom window, which gave him a view into the neighbors’ second-story bathroom if the door was left open.
The girls, then 8 and 9, frequently left the bathroom door open while they changed, bathed or used the toilet, Nelson said.
“What they or their mom didn’t know was that someone was watching them. Someone was recording them. Someone was taking video of them,” the deputy prosecutor said.
Powell then kept the videos and photos on a compact disc for his own sexual purposes, Nelson said.
Defense attorney Travis Currie urged jurors not to rush to judgment.
“What you’ve heard is a story. Like any good story, it has drama. It has victims. It has a villain,” Currie said during his own opening statement. “But it’s not evidence. You haven’t heard a thing about the case.”
Currie said he was confident his client would be acquitted once all the facts were on the table.
Detectives from Pierce County and the West Valley City Police Department in Utah found the photographs and video while searching Powell’s South Hill home in 2011 for evidence in the disappearance of his daughter-in-law, Susan Cox Powell.
The Puyallup native went missing from her Utah home in 2009 and is presumed murdered by her husband and Steven Powell’s son, Josh Powell, who’d been living with his father at the time of the search.
Josh Powell killed the couple’s two young sons and himself in Pierce County in 2012.
Steven Powell served 30 months in prison on the voyeurism counts and was released into Tacoma last year. He could face more prison time if convicted in his current trial.
He was arrested again when prosecutors decided to reinstate the possession of child porn charge in October after the Court of Appeals decision. He’s been in jail since then in lieu of $50,000 bail.