TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A jury on Wednesday convicted Steve Powell of voyeurism charges that stemmed from an investigation into the 2009 disappearance of his daughter-in-law Susan Powell, a mother of two from Utah who has never been found.
Jurors found Steve Powell guilty on all 14 counts. He simply looked off into a corner of the courtroom as the verdict was read. Anne Bremner, an attorney who represents Susan Powell's family, smiled.
Susan Powell's parents long have believed that Steve Powell knows something about her disappearance, and her father, Chuck Cox, said they were relieved by the verdict. He said he hoped the decision would get the family closer to knowing what happened to their daughter.
"It kicks another crutch away from him," Mr. Cox said. "The main question is: Where is Susan? Now, perhaps he'll answer it."
Authorities long focused on Susan Powell's husband, Josh, during the missing-persons investigation, but he killed himself and the couple's two young children earlier this year.
Authorities have said Steve Powell has been uncooperative during the investigation.
Steve Powell's daughter Alina took diligent notes throughout the trial while attending in support of her father. On Wednesday, she remained in the courtroom long after the verdict was read, at times crying. She declined to comment.
Authorities brought the voyeurism charges last year after searching Steve Powell's home during their investigation into Susan Powell's disappearance.
They allege they found thousands of images of females being photographed and videotaped without their knowledge, including Susan Powell. But the pictures of her were not part of the case. Instead, prosecutors focused on images of two young girls who lived next door to Steve Powell.
During closing arguments Tuesday, Pierce County Prosecutor Grant Blinn methodically showed photos of the young girls to the jury while saying that Steve Powell captured the images from his bedroom window.
"He was sitting there, lurking in the shadows, leering at the girls," Mr. Blinn said.
Authorities say the files show the young girls in a bathroom as they bathed and used the toilet. The girls, identified in court only by their initials, were about 8 and 10 when the images were captured. They testified they had no idea someone had taken photos of them in the bathroom.
Defense attorneys argued there were too many uncertainties in the evidence to convict. Lawyer Travis Currie repeatedly emphasized the standard of "reasonable doubt" during closing arguments, raising the prospect that others could have captured the images.
Jurors seemed to be grappling with that issue during deliberations.
They asked a question early in the process Tuesday about whether the disc that contained the images was found in boxes containing only items belonging to Steve Powell. They then asked to view the disc to get clarity on two of the counts.
And on Wednesday, the jury asked a question about exhibits used by the prosecution, indicating jurors felt that images in one of the exhibits didn't meet the reasonable-doubt requirement.