Published November 20, 2014
Shortly after beginning deliberations, jurors in the voyeurism case against the father-in-law of a missing Utah mother asked the judge whether all the items found in boxes in Steve Powell's bedroom were his.
The question followed closing arguments in which a prosecutor said Powell lurked in the shadows of his bedroom to capture nude images of young girls who lived next door.
Prosecutors say the images and others used as a basis for the charges were found on a disc in Powell's bedroom.
A defense attorney countered that there was reasonable doubt as to whether Powell took the images.
Jurors indicated they may have been considering reasonable doubt when they sent their question to the judge Tuesday afternoon.
Defense attorneys had noted that authorities did not say whether Powell's fingerprints were on the disc and said they never explored whether the bedroom door was locked. The judge told jurors that he could not answer the question and told them to keep deliberating.
The jury later asked to review the disc.
Pierce County prosecutor Grant Blinn said earlier Tuesday that Powell was guilty of 14 counts of voyeurism. Blinn methodically showed photos of the young girls to the jury while saying Powell captured the images from his bedroom window.
"He was sitting there, lurking in the shadows, leering at the girls," Blinn said.
The files show the young girls in a bathroom as they bathed and used the toilet, authorities said. The girls, identified in court only by their initials, were about 8 and 10 years old when the images were captured. They testified they had no idea someone had been taking photos of them in the bathroom.
Defense attorney Travis Currie argued there were too many uncertainties in the evidence to convict. He questioned whether Powell was the one who actually captured the images, noting others lived in the home. He also wondered whether the images were used for sexual gratification.
"There are people who are nosy, who like to spy on their neighbors," Currie said.
When talking about the burden of "reasonable doubt," Currie reached as high as he could into the air, towering over the jury to emphasize how high of a bar that standard is.
Most jurors showed little emotion during the closing arguments, though a few looked away while the prosecutor showed the images of the young girls.
Like much of the trial, the closing arguments made no mention of Susan Powell, who disappeared in 2009, even though Steve Powell was arrested in the voyeurism case last year after authorities investigating her disappearance searched his home. Authorities have said Steve Powell's image collection included many photos of Susan Powell.
Her husband, Josh, killed himself and the couple's two young children in a house fire earlier this year.
Steve Powell faces a standard sentence of around four years if convicted, but the state has alleged aggravating factors that could result in a longer term.