Steve Powell Voyeurism Trial: Jurors appear to question whether graphic images belonged to defendant

Steve Powell appears in court for jury selection in his voyeurism and child pornography trial at the Pierce County Superior Court, in Tacoma, Wash., Monday, May 7, 2012.
AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Rick Egan
Steve Powell
Steve Powell in court on Monday, May 7, 2012.
AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Rick Egan

(CBS/AP) TACOMA, Wash. -- The jury in the voyeurism case against Steven Powell, the father-in-law of missing Utah woman Susan Powell, began their deliberations Tuesday and quickly asked the judge a question that may hint at a weakness in the prosecution's case.

Powell is charged with 14 counts of voyeurism after authorities investigating Susan Powell's 2009 disappearance say they found a disc in his bedroom containing graphic images of young girls who lived next door.

Shortly after beginning deliberations, jurors asked if the disc was found in boxes containing only items belonging to the defendant..

Defense attorneys had noted authorities did not say whether Steve Powell's fingerprints were on the disc and said they never explored whether his bedroom door was locked.

The judge told jurors he could not answer their question and instructed them to keep deliberating.

However, that question bothered attorney Anne Bremner, who represents both Susan Powell's family and the family of the neighbor girls.

"That was a little troubling," Bremner said. She was surprised the jury was taking so long on what she believed was a simple case.

Earlier Tuesday, Pierce County prosecutor Grant Blinn showed photos of the young girls to the jury while saying Steve 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. The girls testified they had no idea someone had taken photos of them in the bathroom.

Defense attorney Travis Currie argued there were too many uncertainties in the evidence to convict. He questioned whether Steve Powell was the one who actually captured the images, since others lived in the home. He also questioned whether the images were used for sexual gratification.

"There are people who are nosy, who like to spy on their neighbors," Currie said.

As with much of the trial, the closing arguments made no mention of Susan Powell, whose disappearance prompted the search of Steve Powell's home and led to the discovery of the images. Authorities have said Steve Powell's collection included many photos of Susan Powell.

Her husband, Josh, killed himself and the couple's two young children in a house fire in Washington State earlier this year.

As the jury deliberated Tuesday, Steve Powell's daughter launched a website showing him and Susan Powell in light moments captured on video.

Alina Powell said the site was not designed to influence the case but to show "sweet family moments." She said on the website it also rebuts allegations that Susan Powell hated her father-in-law.

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.

Complete Coverage of the Susan Powell case on Crimesider