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Sat, July 20

Judge denies motion to suppress videotapes in 'peeping tom' case

A Mohave County Superior Court judge has denied a motion to suppress evidence in the case of a Kingman man charged with 52 felony counts including illegally taping young girls.

Superior Court Judge Richard Weiss denied a request by David Owens' attorney to suppress evidence, including illegal videotapes, Web site addresses and pornographic photos police found at Owens' residence.

Owens is charged with 10 counts of second-degree burglary, two counts of third-degree burglary, two counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property; six counts of theft, one count of molestation of a child and 12 counts of unlawful videotaping.

Owens is also charged with 19 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.

He has been accused of possessing 19 Internet computer images of minors younger than 15 in sexual situations, according to court records.

The defense argued that a phone request by Kingman police to Justice of the Peace John Taylor for a second search warrant at Owens' home was invalid.

Owens was originally investigated as a burglary suspect.

The search warrant for burglarized items was written.

The second search request came after KPD detectives discovered a photo of an underage girl in a towel and handwritten pornographic Internet addresses in Owens' room.

Taylor granted the second warrant by phone without his signature.

Weiss ruled last week the original warrant lawfully placed law enforcement in the defendant's residence.

He also said all evidence seized by the expanded warrant would have been discovered anyway.

"As the Monday morning quarterbacks, we may all say the police had plenty of time to get an entirely new warrant or had the time to affix an authorized signature of the magistrate," Weiss ruled.

"But would our precise hindsight further any purpose?"

Weiss admitted law enforcement was not in "strict compliance" with the law.

Arizona law requires a written warrant signed by a judge or justice.

Weiss cited other cases concerning expanded search warrants in making his ruling.

"The Court finds the shortcomings of law enforcement and the issuing magistrate to be procedural in nature," Weiss ruled.

"Probable cause was found by the issuing justice of the peace for both the initial search warrant and for the expanded search for evidence of sex crimes against children.

Substance shall prevail over form."

Weiss set Owens' next hearing for May 16.

The charges resulted from incidents between June and November when Owens allegedly videotaped seven different girls and an adult female in the Kingman area, court records show.

Some of the girls were videotaped on several occasions.

Some were videotaped through their bedroom windows, the police complaint claims.

Owens is accused of molesting one of the girls who was videotaped.

The theft charges involve more than $40,000 in property taken between July 31 and Nov.

5.

Owens is accused of attempting to sell jewelry to a Kingman pawnshop in October.

Kingman detectives began investigating the sale of jewelry taken in Nevada burglaries to a Kingman pawnshop.

The Nevada burglaries were similar to burglaries committed in Kingman.

KPD detectives identified Owens, 37, as the suspect selling the jewelry and searched his home.

He is being held in custody without bond.

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