By Mike Baker Associated Press
OLYMPIA — An attorney for Steve Powell said Monday that investigators frustrated by their unsuccessful quest to find his 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 being videotaped without their knowledge, including Susan Powell. Some of the girls were as young as 8.
Steve Powell has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin in two weeks.
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 Susan Powell.
“They need to look into all the leads — look into who she had relationships with and the nature and extent of those relationships,” Blinn said.
Judge Ronald Culpepper said he may rule Tuesday on the motion to suppress the evidence.
Steve 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.
Alina Powell, Steve Powell’s daughter, went further than his attorneys and argued outside of court that investigators simply fabricated the evidence against him. She has long defended her father and brother Josh, saying they had nothing to do with Susan Powell’s disappearance.
Susan Powell’s father, Chuck Cox, said outside of court that he believes Steve Powell knows the location of Susan Powell.
Investigators have said they are still interested in speaking with Steve Powell about the disappearance of his daughter-in-law. They say he has been uncooperative in that investigation.
Steve 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 that investigators have described in court documents, Susan Powell wrote that she wished her husband would sever ties with Steve Powell. She described Steven Powell as a pedophile.