Anxious neighbors wait as Steven Powell's release date nears

PUYALLUP, Wash. -- It isn't set to happen for another month, but already neighbors in one Pierce County town are preparing for the release of convicted sex offender Steven Powell.

Powell is scheduled to be released from prison four weeks from Thursday, less than a year after being sentenced to two and a half years behind bars for voyeurism.

In the meantime, some in Puyallup are sounding the alarm.

The community has already been through a lot. They've lived through the disappearance of Susan Powell, the murder of her two children and the fiery suicide of her husband, Josh Powell.

"Very traumatic experience for our community and our family," said Sarah Slack, a neighbor and the founder of the TEARS Foundation.

Slack said she fears what Steven Powell could be capable of when he's released from prison on May 23.

He was convicted of recording his neighbor's children in their bathroom, and those who still live in the neighborhood hope his post-prison plans don't include returning to Puyallup.

"What he could be capable of is a major concern for us and our community. Our safety, our children's safety, we live near a school," Slack said.

Department of Corrections officials say they consider all those things when a prisoner is released. A spokesman said Steven Powell will have to file plans before he's set free, and then officers will consider proximity to victims and other factors.

Slack, whose daughter went to school with one of the Powell kids, wants to make sure no more violence comes to her community.

"What could he do? Are our children safe? Are we going to be safe with him in the neighborhood? I don't want him in the neighborhood. He's going to be in someone's neighborhood, but hopefully not ours," she said.

The DOC has yet to decide whether Steven Powell would be approved to move back to Puyallup, but if victims are still living near by, it's unlikely.

Powell's attorney didn't return phone calls for comment on the story.