POWELL TRIAL BLOG: New video emerges of Susan Cox Powell

Posted at 8:26 AM, May 15, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-16 02:18:49-04

UPDATE 6:54 p.m. PST: "Jurors never made me nervous until the Casey Anthony trial," Anne Bremner, the attorney for the alleged victims, quipped outside of court. "And now? They make me nervous."

Bremner predicted the jury would convict Powell. Susan Cox Powell's father, Chuck Cox, was clearly frustrated at the length of deliberations.

"It's confusing," he said. "It's baffling. I don't know how much clearer a case can get."

Asked about the website created by Alina Powell, Cox said she was "in denial about everything and I don't think she understands what she's putting up there."

Cox said his daughter was always uncomfortable around Steven Powell.

"We know that Susan would spend time with the family, because she wanted to try everything she could. She would not be alone with Steve, she would try to be polite, and (Alina) is misconstruing that."

Still, Cox said he would likely watch the videos.

"We're glad to see any pictures that we have of her because they've kept that all away from us," he said.

UPDATE 4:23 p.m. PST: The jury has indicated that they will resume deliberations tomorrow morning beginning at 9 a.m. PST.

UPDATE 3:43 p.m. PST: The clerk took a laptop into the jury room so they could view the images in question. It has been more than four hours since the jury began deliberating.

UPDATE 3:27 p.m. PST: Alina Powell spoke briefly, off camera, to reporters about the website she created.

"It gets the message out there," she said.

Powell insisted she was not trying to influence the outcome of her father's trial. The videos, she said, show a different side of things. They show Susan Cox Powell, her children, Charlie and Braden, Josh Powell and Steven Powell in lighter moments.

"When I watch the videos, it's just sweet family moments," Alina Powell said, slightly emotional.

UPDATE 3:16 p.m. PST: The clerk just told defense attorney Travis Currie that the jury wants to view the disc that was seized by police. That means that the courtroom will be cleared so they can view it on a projector.

UPDATE 3:06 p.m. PST: The jury indicated to the judge they have another question.

UPDATE 2:06 p.m. PST: A new website has emerged with video showing Steven Powell and Susan Cox Powell. It is apparently written by Alina Powell to counter claims that Susan did not like Steve Powell.

"If Susan had really thought that Steve Powell were a danger to her children, as the police are trying to claim, there's no way she would have allowed him access to her children in so carefree a manner as demonstrated in the videos. Susan was a caring mother and an excellent judge of character. The police have misrepresented Susan's writings in bad faith," the site says.

"We are also very appreciative to our viewers for choosing to hear our side of the story as well," a caption on one video says. "Since the Coxes and the police have made a very concerted effort to censor our point of view."

Denise Cox, the sister of Susan Cox Powell, left the courtroom visibly upset after being shown the site. Alina Powell has consistently declined requests for comment throughout the trial.

UPDATE 1:22 p.m. PST: The jury asked if all the boxes taken from Steven Powell's bedroom belonged to him. Because it is a factual issue, Judge Culpepper said he could not answer that.

"Please keep deliberating," he wrote back to them in a note.

The judge said he would allow them to keep deliberating until 4:15 p.m. PST, and then inquire of they wanted to continue into the evening or resume the next day.

UPDATE 1:09 p.m. PST: Steven Powell was brought back into the courtroom. The jury apparently has a question.

UPDATE 12:54 p.m. PST: The jury returned to resume deliberations.

UPDATE 12:23 p.m. PST: "I believe the jurors will make the right decision today," Susan Cox Powell's sister, Denise Cox, told reporters outside of court.

Though there was no revelations about Susan that emerged at trial, Cox said she got some satisfaction from the trial.

"The embarrassment," she said. "I did see him at one time, he had a red face. He was a little embarrassed that his secret got told."

Anne Bremner, the attorney for the alleged victim in this case, said the girls were upset that the child pornography count was dismissed.

"The girls felt, in some ways, the system wasn't working," she said. "But once they testified, I think they really felt the system was working and they were glad to be a part of it."

UPDATE 12:08 p.m. PST: The jury took a break for lunch. They were asked to resume deliberations about 1 p.m. PST.

UPDATE 11:30 a.m. PST: Anne Bremner, the attorney for Susan Cox Powell's family and the victims in the Steven Powell voyeurism case, said she was informed by West Valley City police that her request to view investigative files in Susan's disappearance has been denied.

After a story FOX 13 aired last week on the records, West Valley City police responded. Bremner told us last week she was contemplating a possible lawsuit if West Valley City police denied her records request.

Pierce County Sheriff's detectives have granted her request.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m. PST: "This case is not about what seems to be reasonable," defense attorney Travis Currie told the jury. "A criminal case is about what has been proved."

Throughout his closing statements Currie hammered at the prosecution's case, insisting prosecutors have not met their burden of proof. At times gesturing wildly, he gave an animated defense.

He reminded the jury that the defense does not have to give a defense, nor does Steven Powell have to testify.

"Beyond a reasonable doubt is UP HERE!" he said, stretching himself and raising his hands above the jury box.

Currie suggested the pictures may not have been taken for sexual gratification. He also said there was no evidence that the disc seized by police was Steven Powell's.

"They found a disc in a box in what we've heard is his bedroom," Currie said.

Currie asked why there was no fingerprints on the disc or the box, or why the police never presented pictures into the neighbor's house from the Powell home. He urged the jury to set aside emotion and "use your head."

"There's an alternative explanation for what happened here," he told the jury. "You have to acquit."

In rebuttal, Blinn emphasized the evidence presented against Steven Powell: the images, the journal entry and other things that pointed to him. Blinn said there were prints on the disc, "his digital prints." He said the camera model matched the pictures on the disc.

"Is it possible there's some explanation? Is it possible men from Mars came down and created these images?" Blinn told the jury sarcastically. "This defendant, Steven Powell, is guilty of 14 counts of voyeurism."

The judge excused jurors 13 and 14 (they were alternates). The jury began deliberations.

UPDATE 9:56 a.m. PST: "This is a case about a secret. It is a secret no longer because now the entire world knows of Mr. Powell's secret," prosecutor Grant Blinn began his closing statements.

The victims felt "safe and secure" in the privacy of their homes, Blinn said, but Steven Powell was "lurking in the shadows."

"There is nothing more disturbing to a teenage girl than knowing the middle-aged man next door was taking pictures," Blinn told the jury.

He outlined the evidence and testimony to the jury, saying no one else but Steven Powell would have interest in it and the only one who could take photographs of it would be him. Blinn re-read the journal entry written by Steven Powell that was allowed in court, proclaiming that it was "coming back to haunt him."

The prosecutor described in detail the self-pictures that Steven Powell allegedly took, the looping of images of the alleged victims.

He ended by showing pictures of the girls to the jury, one at a time. Some jurors appeared to grimace as Blinn showed the voyeuristic images, urging them to "find him guilty."

UPDATE 9:35 a.m. PST: The court has released new documents filed in the Steven Powell trial.

Here are the jury instructions.

This is the judge's order to dismiss the child porn charge against Steven Powell, with prejudice.

This is the defense motion to dismiss 12 counts of voyeurism against Steven Powell.

This is the state's response.The motion was denied.

UPDATE 9:20 a.m. PST: Prosecutors have decided not to pursue an aggravating factor for invasion of privacy in the jury deliberations. That could shave some time off of a potential sentence, if Steven Powell is convicted.

The jury was summoned into the room. They were handed the jury instructions.

"Your decision as jurors must be made solely upon the evidence that was presented in these proceedings," Judge Culpepper told them.

The judge cautioned them to consider only the evidence and testimony. The jury cannot control the sentence, nor should that be a factor in deliberations. Judge Culpepper also reminded the jury that the burden of proof is on the state. Steven Powell is not required to testify, nor can that be used against him, the judge told the jury.

The judge went through the charges of voyeurism and the definitions of invasion of privacy, intent, and photographing.

UPDATE 8:58 a.m. PST: Steven Powell's daughter, Alina, is seated in the courtroom two rows behind her sister, Jennifer. The courtroom is filling up as lawyers prepare for closing statements to the jury.

UPDATE 8:51 a.m. PST: There was no visible reaction as Steven Powell was led into the courtroom and looked over to see Jennifer Graves seated with members of Susan Cox Powell's family.

He is seated with his back to them, speaking with his attorney, Mark Quigley.

Judge Ronald Culpepper is making copies of the jury instructions before closing statements begin.

UPDATE 8:33 a.m. PST: Chuck and Judy Cox, Susan Cox Powell's parents, are seated in the courtroom next to Jennifer Graves, Steven Powell's estranged daughter.


TACOMA -- The voyeurism trial of Steven Powell is wrapping up with closing statements and jury deliberations expected this morning.

Powell's attorneys presented no defense to the jury after prosecutors rested their case by calling two West Valley City police detectives and Powell's estranged daughter, Jennifer Graves, to the witness stand. Prosecutors did not once invoke the name of Susan Cox Powell, to the frustration of her family.

"We believe that she's a big part of this and she was certainly a victim," Susan's father, Chuck Cox, told FOX 13 outside of court.

The judge limited mention of Susan Cox Powell in the trial, ruling that it was irrelevant to what Powell was charged with -- inappropriately taking pictures of two neighbor girls.

What the jury heard was that West Valley City police and Pierce County Sheriff's deputies searched Steven Powell's Puyallup home in August 2011. What they didn't hear is officers were looking for Susan Cox Powell's diaries, which they believed could hold some clues to her disappearance.

West Valley City Police Detective Ellis Maxwell, the lead officer on the Susan Cox Powell disappearance, testified about police retrieving a Sony Handycam and discs from his bedroom. Those discs, prosecutors allege, contained thousands of images of girls and women, taken without their knowledge. Police claim some of those images are of Susan Cox Powell, although that was not introduced to the jury.

"Without the investigation of my daughter's disappearance, they wouldn't have any evidence," Chuck Cox told reporters. "They would never have gone in the house."

Defense attorneys questioned the officers about who else was in the house, suggesting that it is possible Steven Powell did not take the pictures. Prosecutors had West Valley City Police Sgt. Todd Gray read a journal entry purportedly written by Steven Powell on April 2, 2004.

"The journal entry says 'I also enjoy taking video shots of pretty girls in shorts and skirts. Beautiful women of every age. I sometimes use those images for self-stimulation,' " Gray testified in court.

To bolster their case, prosecutors called Jennifer Graves to the witness stand to verify the layout of her father's home and his handwriting. She has not seen him in more than a year. The two briefly locked eyes, before she looked away.

"Probably better just not to look at him," Graves said outside of court.

Estranged from the Powell family, Graves was surrounded by Susan's family after her testimony. Her sister, Alina Powell, has sat in the courtroom every day in support of her father.

"Alina, there's really not much point," Graves said. "We're on two sides of the coin here."

Graves said she believes her father has some knowledge of what happened to Susan Cox Powell. Susan's husband, Josh Powell, is considered a "person of interest" by West Valley City police in her 2009 disappearance. He killed himself and the couple's children, Charlie and Braden, in a February explosion and fire at a Graham, Wash., home.

"I think he knows," Graves said of her father. "Whether or not he actually did the dirty deed, or helped him plan it, or is just helping him cover it up after the fact, I don't know how far his knowledge goes and his involvement goes. But I know he knows at this point what happened."

Susan's father expressed some frustration that the trial has not yielded any more answers about her disappearance.

"It feels like a colossal waste of my time," Cox said. "The whole thing here. But they've been, Steve and Josh ... have done nothing but avoid answering for the things they've done."

Check back here for updates throughout the day on the Steven Powell trial. You can also follow FOX 13′s Ben Winslow for real-time updates on Twitter.

Read a recap of Monday's court happenings.

Read a recap of last week’s witness testimony here.

Read a recap of last week’s trial opening here.

Read a recap of last Monday’s jury selection here.

Read a prosecution filing detailing what police allege they found on Steven Powell’s computers. WARNING: Extremely GRAPHIC content!

Read the jury questionnaire in the Steven Powell trial.