Wayne Hamberg of Salt Lake City said Josh and Susan Powell had problems like any other couple, but he never saw any signs of domestic violence or serious issues.
He said the media shouldn't convict Josh Powell, and he disagrees that his friend has been evasive in television interviews.
"Everyone has beaten on him so badly, including his family. He's on functional shutdown. He's emotionally shook up. The only thing he's holding on to is his kids," Hamberg told the Deseret News.
Susan Powell has been missing since Dec. 7. Josh Powell told police he last saw her at 12:30 a.m. that day when he took his two young boys on a camping trip and left her at home. He failed to show up at work that day. Police have called Josh Powell a person of interest and said he was not forthcoming in two interviews with detectives.
Hamberg said he does not believe that Josh Powell's hiring of defense attorney Scott Williams is an admission of guilt, but instead evidence Powell "felt so overwhelmed that he needed help."
Hamberg, who belongs to a computer club with Josh Powell, said his friend was at his house as recently as Tuesday.
"He was so distraught. He could either be completely overwhelmed or ridden with guilt. I'd like to believe he's innocent," Hamberg said.
Meanwhile, the Salt Lake Tribune reported on Saturday that West Valley City police are seeking copies of Josh Powell's interviews with TV reporters, including excerpts that have not been broadcast. ABC 4 reported it had received a subpoena for the footage. KSL also confirmed police have asked for copies of its interview with him.
Tom McLachlan, a police captain in West Valley City, a suburb of Salt Lake City, said Saturday that investigators continue to check out leads.
"There is really nothing new in the case," he said. "We continue to collect and analyze evidence."