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Jury selection could prove difficult in Steven Powell case

Jury selection could prove difficult in Steven Powell case



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TACOMA, Washington — The national attention surrounding the Steven Powell case could prove to be a challenge in seating an impartial jury Monday.

Powell is facing charges for 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possession of materials of minors engaged in explicit conduct. Powell is accused of taking pictures in 2006 and 2007 of two young neighbor girls, then ages 8 and 10, through an open window into their bathroom without their knowledge.

Powell is the father-in-law of Susan Cox Powell, who has been missing since 2008 and the father of Josh Powell, who killed himself and his two children in February.

Former prosecutor Greg Skordas, who is not associated with the Powell case, says the challenge of the Steven Powell case will be finding jurors who are fair and open-minded, despite what they may have heard or read about in the press.

Steven Powell trial coverage
KSL will have a team of reporters in Tacoma, Washington covering the trial, with complete coverage on ksl.com, KSL-TV, KSL NewsRadio and the Deseret News.

ksl.com will also be streaming the trial live from the Pierce County Courthouse.

"I think this case is going to be harder to select a jury than in most cases," Skordas said. "…The judge, the defense attorney, the prosecutors are all going to want to make sure the jury says, ‘We're not here to try Josh Powell, we're not here to find Susan Cox Powell.' "

He says the judge could bring in a larger number of potential jurors, which is typical in high-profile felony cases.

According to Skordas, prosecutors will want parents who have young children, on the jury but the defense will want another kind of juror involved in the case.

"As a defense attorney, you might try to avoid those type of people and maybe have people who are a little more open-minded who are a little more worldly about the Internet and accessibility about certain things," Skordas said.

Steven Powell isn't expected to take the stand in his defense. The defense's witness list includes only two private investigators. Prosecutors have a longer list of potential witnesses, including 20 members of West Valley City Police, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office and Jennifer Graves, Powell's estranged daughter.

The two alleged victims, sisters who are now 13 and 14 years old, could also be called to testify.

"They're very determined to see justice in this case and one of them wants to be a detective and she wants to testify to be a part of his process," said Anne Bremner, the prosecution's attorney.

Bremner also represents Chuck and Judy Cox, parents of Susan Cox Powell. The Coxes will be following the trial closely too. They're looking for anything that could lead them to their missing daughter.

"It's not clear whether there will be answers or not, but they're hopeful to learn more about her disappearance through the course of the trial itself," Bremner said.

The Powell trial begins Monday with jury selection and is expected to begin sometime this week, or early next week.

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Sandra Yi

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