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Steve Powell may not attend his grandsons' funeral

Published February 10, 2012 11:20 am

Court • Criminal defendants can ask to be transported to funerals, but judges must grant such requests
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

As family and friends of Charlie and Braden Powell prepare for Saturday funeral services, there is one family member who is not expected to attend.

The children's paternal grandfather, Steve Powell, has not been granted a transport from the Pierce County Jail to attend the funeral, said Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Ed Troyer Friday morning. Steve Powell, 61, is being held in the Pierce County jail awaiting trial on counts of voyeurism and child pornography.

The Powell boys, ages 7 and 5, died Sunday at the hand of their father, Josh Powell, who attacked them with a hatchet and then set a fire in his home which killed all three. A funeral service for the boys will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Life Center Church, 1717 S. Union Ave. Tacoma, Wash. A private family interment will follow at Woodbine Cemetery in Puyallup on Monday.

Criminal defendants are able to ask a judge to attend funerals of family members, but a judge must grant such requests. Troyer said as of Friday morning, there were no transport orders on file for Steve Powell at the jail.

Steve Powell is charged with 14 counts of voyeurism and one count of possessing an image of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Washington Prosecutor Grant Blinn has said that Powell took images over a 10-year span, with the court case focusing on voyeurism episodes from 2006 and 2007.

Powell is being represented by attorneys Mark T. Quigley and Travis R. Currie. Both are attorneys with the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel.

Quigley couldn't immediately be reached on Friday to speak to whether his client had requested funeral transport. Court dockets don't indicate that a request has been made.

Sheriff's deputies from Tacoma, Wash., arrested Powell on Sept. 22 after detectives from West Valley City served a search warrant on his Puyallup home, which he shared with his son, Josh; his grandsons; and his adult children Alina Powell and John Powell. Detectives were looking for potential evidence in the case of Susan Powell and found images of the woman taken surreptitiously by Steve Powell, prosecutors have alleged.

Steve Powell has said his daughter-in-law made sexual advances toward him — allegations disputed by Susan Powell's friends and family. Steve Powell made national television appearances where he stated that he had romantic feelings for his daughter-in-law and that he wished their relationship had been more intimate than it was.

Susan Powell had reportedly told her husband's sister, Jennifer Graves of West Jordan, that Steve Powell made her uncomfortable and sent her inappropriate nude photos of men in a package containing photos of her favorite movie star. Graves has said her sister-in-law also said that Steve Powell made remarks about Susan Powell "sharing" herself with him and his son.

Susan Powell disappeared from her home in West Valley City on Dec. 6, 2009. Family and attorneys connected to Susan Powell have said they believe Josh Powell murdered his wife.

Police have called Josh Powell and Steve Powell "persons of interest" in the case.

In court declarations filed earlier this fall, two of Steve Powell's children wrote they were surprised their father was arrested.

"The arrest comes as a surprise to all individuals I have talked to, especially those closest to my father," wrote Michael Powell, 29, who is a University of Minnesota student living in Minneapolis, in court documents. "Everyone is of course saddened by it. The charges are not consistent with the way I know my father to behave."

Michael Powell wrote that he and his siblings do not intend to post bail for their father.

Jennifer Graves, who is estranged from her father and siblings, said in an interview following her father's arrest that she that the man was behind bars so he could not victimize other people. She said Steve Powell has a pornography addiction and she and her husband made it a point to never leave their children alone with Steve Powell because of his history of questionable behavior.

She has written in a court declaration that as a 12-year-old, she went on a work trip with Steve Powell and that he watched a television show involving naked women while she was in the room.

"Pornography has been an issue in this family for three decades," Graves wrote. "

A statement from the Powell family released earlier this week says they have decided to delay memorial services for Josh Powell to allow the children to be memorialized and "give everyone a chance to deal with this devastating situation one step at a time."

mrogers@sltrib.com

Twitter: @mrogers_trib