Idaho man charged with blackmailing Hyrum girl found to be incompetent to stand trial

LOGAN — The criminal case for Michael B. Powell has been postponed, after he was found incompetent to stand trial. The 21-year-old Idaho man was accused of extorting nude photos and videos from a Hyrum girl.

Powell was in 1st District Court Tuesday morning. Last year he was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual extortion of a child, a first-degree felony, and 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

Defense attorney Bryan Galloway told the court his client had been evaluated by two psychologists. Both had determined, Powell’s mental state at the present time prevented him from understanding the criminal charges filed against him.

Galloway said the prosecutors were in agreement on the reports. They asked the court to transfer Powell to the Utah State Hospital, where physicians will attempt to restore him to competency.

Judge Kevin Allen said he also agreed with the conclusion, stating that he was aware of the defendant’s criminal and mental history. He explained to Powell, there was a strong likelihood that his competency will be restored and he’ll be able to proceed with the criminal case.

Police allege, Powell had a relationship with the 17-year-old girl that began two years ago. During that time, he convinced her to send him nude photos of herself. He then began blackmailing her for more graphic photos and videos, threatening to send the pictures to her family, if she didn’t comply. The threats allegedly continued through social media and text messages until the victim contacted a school resource officer at Mountain Crest High School. Deputies were able to access the social media accounts and text messages. They tracked them to the defendant, who was living in Pocatello, Idaho.

Powell was arrested and transferred to the Cache County Jail. He was being held on $100,000 bail.

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