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SALT LAKE CITY — The family of missing West Valley mother Susan Cox Powell was not pleased with the 30-month jail sentence Susan's father-in-law, Steven Powell, received Friday. But the sentence isn't the last of Powell's legal troubles.
Chuck and Judy Cox and their daughters attended the nearly two-hour long hearing. They had hoped for a much stiffer punishment to be handed down to the man they believe to be involved in Susan's disappearance.
This has happened many times before, that the criminal is minimally sentenced. As long as that happens, we're going to see more of the same thing throughout our lives.
"I guess I'm one of those who wants to see him locked away forever," said Chuck Cox, Susan Powell's father. "Thirty months is a slap in the face to the victims."
Judge Ronald Culpepper sentenced Steven Powell to 30 months in jail, with credit for time served. In all, he's expected to stay behind bars for the next 22 months, and then he'll be put on a 36-month probation.
Steven Powell's daughter Alina also attended the hearing. She, on the other hand, was happy her dad got a "fairer sentence" than what prosecutors were pushing for.
"I think in this case, there's nothing to say, there's nothing you can say, because this is too politicized and too publicized," Alina Powell said. "If he didn't do it, he could say he didn't do it and no one would believe him. If he did do it, he could say he's sorry and nobody would believe him, and they would punish him as severely as if he weren't to say anything."
While the sentence signals the end of the criminal investigation, Steve Powell now faces a civil lawsuit. In addition, his case will likely result in more litigation related to Susan's disappearance.
Prior to Friday's sentencing, the attorney for Steve Powell's young voyeurism victims served his attorneys with papers essentially suing him.
"I walked into the jury room, and he was there sitting with his lawyers," Anne Bremner said. "And he did look at me, and I put the paperwork over toward him, hoping that he would touch it. He did not. His lawyers acknowledge that he served and thanked me."
Chuck Cox said he also plans to talk to prosecutors about filing another case against Powell on his missing daughter's behalf.
"She was a victim," he said Friday. "But I understand why they excluded her from the case. It made it a cleaner case."
His wife, Judy Cox, called the entire case "very frustrating," but said every little bit helps them get closure, even as their ultimate goal is to find their daughter and bury her. Friday, there was some comfort in knowing Powell would remain in custody.
Bremner is also focusing on her other clients: Chuck and Judy Cox. She wants records from the Pierce County Sheriff's Office about the evidence gathered against Powell in his voyeurism case, which may also have clues about what may have happened to Susan.
The Pierce County Sheriff's Office, Bremner says, had previously agreed to release the records at the end of the trial but now view a lawsuit as a "cleaner option."
Contributing: Andrew Adams and Sandra Yi