For 30 minutes this morning, a Pierce County sheriff’s detective narrated for a jury several series of digital images as they flashed across a video screen in Superior Court.
The shots – apparently still photos clipped from video-recordings – showed two sisters, ages 10 and 8, in various stages of undress, taking baths, using the toilet.
One showed a girl in Care Bear pajamas getting ready for bed.
Deputy prosecutors Grant Blinn and Bryce Nelson contend the photos were taken by Steven Craig Powell, 62, who lived adjacent to the girls’ home in 2006 and 2007.
They also contend Powell used the photos for sexual gratification.
“This case is about a secret,” Nelson told jurors during his opening statement in the case. “That secret is Steven Powell is a voyeur.”
Powell is charged with 14 counts of voyeurism for allegedly taking the girls’ photos surreptitiously from his bedroom window. He’s pleaded not guilty.
One of his attorneys, Mark Quigley, told jurors the defense plans to “challenge every piece of evidence” put forth by prosecutors but won’t put on a case of its own.
Powell will not testify, Quigley said during his own opening statement.
Gary Sanders was the first witness called and is expected back on the stand after lunch. He was the lead detective on the case.
Sanders told jurors the images only could have been taken from Powell’s bedroom, given the angles of the shots and the fact the girls’ bathroom was on the second floor of their house.
The compact disc the images were stored on was found in Powell’s bedroom, Sanders testified.
The case has attracted national media attention because of Powell’s connection to missing Utah mother Susan Cox Powell. She went missing from her home in December 2009 and Powell’s son, Josh, was being investigated in her disappearance when he killed their two sons and himself in Pierce County in February.
Judge Ron Culpepper has severely limited how much prosecutors can talk about Susan Cox Powell’s disappearance during her father-in-law’s voyeurism trial, noting she is not named as a victim in any of the Pierce County counts.
Blinn and Nelson had tried to get journal entries written by Powell about his sexual obsession with his daughter-in-law admitted into the trial, along with photographs he took of her, but Culpepper said no.
The trial is expected to last until early next week.