The jury trial that was to take place in February for Mark Redwine, the Vallecito man charged with killing his 13-year-old son, Dylan, has been vacated and will be rescheduled at a later date, giving lawyers more time to prepare their cases.
Chief District Judge Jeffery Wilson said it could take weeks before he rules on the dozens of motions argued this week in the case against Redwine. Those motions include one to move the trial to a different judicial district and several seeking to suppress evidence.
Lawyers spent dozens of hours this week in 6th Judicial District Court arguing about how law enforcement obtained evidence and what pieces of that evidence should be permitted at trial. Defense lawyers made a case in closed court Friday for why they think the trial should be moved to a different judicial district, likely arguing that significant media coverage and other factors make it impossible for their client to receive a fair trial in La Plata County. Lawyers can request what is called a “change of venue” if they believe a jury pool may be negatively influenced by pretrial publicity.
The evidence in dispute includes statements Redwine made to law enforcement; the findings of a cadaver dog trained to sniff human remains; and media coverage that included local, state, national and international stories about Dylan’s disappearance and murder, including a two-part episode on “Dr. Phil,” among other issues.
Wilson said he would rule at a later date whether jurors will be allowed to watch the “Dr. Phil” shows, in which Redwine, his ex-wife, Elaine Hatfield Hall, and their son, Cory Redwine, appeared on the show.
The court heard from at least three investigators, including an FBI special agent and La Plata County Sheriff’s Office investigators. Lawyers questioned each witness about how they obtained information from Redwine, including whether statements were given voluntarily or through coercive means.
Mark Redwine appeared each day in court dressed in a “2XL” orange jumpsuit with his right hand shackled to his waist. Throughout the hearing, Redwine wrote notes to his attorneys and, at times, advised them verbally.
Prosecutors spent hours trying to convince Wilson that evidence obtained by law enforcement was done legally. They asked questions like: What was the officer wearing on the day she or he spoke with Redwine? Was Redwine told he could leave at any time? Was Redwine ever detained or put in handcuffs?
In asking these questions, lawyers tried to show that law enforcement did not coerce Redwine into making statements. If the evidence wasn’t obtained legally, as the defense argued, the evidence could be thrown out by the judge.
Defense attorneys argued that law enforcement used illegal means to obtain information from Redwine. They asked questions like: Who did Redwine explicitly give authority to search his home? What was the officers’ tone of voice when talking with Redwine? Was Redwine told he had the right to an attorney?
Those questions were meant to elicit answers that would implicate officers in an act of obtaining information unlawfully, such as making a threat or promise or detaining Redwine until he provided information.
While Wilson hinted at times how he would rule on certain issues, he said he has at least 60 hours of recordings to review before he could rule on the motions.
Those recordings include videotaped interviews at the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, recordings made by law enforcement in casual conversations with Redwine, and recordings of informal conversations at Redwine’s residence.
The four-week trial has not yet been rescheduled; a new trial date is likely to be determined early next year. Wilson and lawyers agreed Friday the trial may be in June or July.
Dylan Redwine disappeared in November 2012 while visiting his father in Vallecito. The boy’s partial remains were found in June 2013 about 8 miles up Middle Mountain Road, near his father’s home. Dylan’s skull was found in November 2015, about 1½ miles from where the boy’s partial remains were found. Forensic anthropologists found signs of trauma on the skull.
Redwine was arrested in July 2017 in Bellingham, Washington, after a grand jury indicted him on charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Redwine pleaded not guilty June 29. He faces 16 to 48 years in prison if found guilty of either charge.