The sentencing this month of Steven Powell for his conviction on voyeurism charges may have closed that case, but he remains an intriguing figure in connection with his son, who committed a triple murder-suicide early this year in Graham and also was the main suspect in another apparent murder.
Powell, 62, was ordered on June 15 by Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper to serve two and a half years in prison for taking photographs of two young neighbor girls without their knowledge while they were in various stages of undress inside their home. He was convicted on 14 counts May 16 following a three-day jury trial.
With credit for the time he has already spent in jail since his arrest, it’s expected that Powell will be incarcerated for about 20 more months. But the total sentence was more harsh than the usual range of punishment for his crime. Prosecutors requested an even stronger penalty of 10 years in prison.
The case may not be over yet. Lawyers for Powell have indicated that the conviction will be appealed.
Powell, who also will be required to register as a sex offender when he finishes his sentence, was accused of taking and possessing photographs of two young girls who lived next door to him in the Puyallup area.
The pictures, which authorities believe were shot through Powell’s bedroom window, showed the girls taking baths, using the toilet and undressing. The pictures were discovered during a search by police last August of his residence as part of a homicide investigation regarding Susan Powell, who disappeared from her Utah home more than two years ago and is presumed dead. Her husband, Josh Powell, lived in his father’s house temporarily with the couple’s two sons after moving from Utah following her disappearance.
Although her body hasn’t been found and he was never charged with killing her, Josh Powell was under intense scrutiny as a suspect in Susan Powell’s apparent death when he killed himself and sons Charlie, 7, and Braden, 5, by setting his Graham-area residence on fire with all three inside Feb. 5 during a court-approved visit by the boys. He was involved in a custody battle for the children, who’d been living with their grandparents – the parents of Susan Powell.
Speculation has mounted about what Steven Powell might know about Susan Powell’s apparent death and his son’s possible involvement with it. Steven Powell hasn’t revealed anything, however, and he hasn’t been implicated by authorities in her case.
During their search of Steven Powell’s home, detectives from the Pierce County Sheriff Department and the West Valley City Police Department in Utah found videotapes and compact discs that authorities said contained thousands of images of women and girls. The images, including those of the young girls who lived next door in 2006-07, focused on buttocks, breasts and genital areas, authorities said.
Powell’s lawyers argued during his trial that there wasn’t enough proof that the pictures were his or he had taken them.
Deputy prosecutors Grant Blinn and Bryce Nelson, citing the multiple offenses against the girls who were Powell’s neighbors, asked the court for an exceptional sentence of 10 years behind bars for Powell. Under sentencing laws, the maximum sentence is one year.
As Culpepper was sentencing Powell in a Tacoma courtroom, the judge referred to the defendant as the “ultimate creep of a neighbor.”
“We’re pleased that the judge agreed with us that an exceptional sentence was called for in this case,” said Prosecuting Attorney Mark Lindquist. “While we recommended a longer sentence than was imposed, the important thing is that Mr. Powell has been held accountable