Pierce County Superior Court Judge Ronald Culpepper ruled there was sufficient probable cause for police investigating Powell's disappearance to search the home of Steven Powell, where they seized various CDs and photographs that will be used in his upcoming trial on pornography and voyeurism charges.
The ruling opens the door for the trial to begin May 7. The Salt Lake Tribune said the prosecution's case could have been seriously hampered if Culpepper had agreed with a defense motion to exclude the material on the basis the search warrant was overly broad.
Powell disappeared from her Utah home in 2009. Her husband, Josh Powell, later moved in with his father near Tacoma. While residing there, Steven Powell revealed on television that he had a journal written by his daughter-in-law that would clear his son as a suspect.
Police obtained a warrant for Steven Powell's home last summer and seized not only the journal but the evidence that led to the porn and voyeurism allegations.
Josh Powell killed himself and his two sons in February by opening up the natural-gas lines in his rental home in Graham, Wash., and setting off an explosion.
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