LA PLATA COUNTY, Colo. — After years of delays exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the man accused of killing his 13-year-old son Dylan Redwine is standing trial.
Mark Redwine, 59, has been held in the La Plata County Jail for three years. He was first indicted on charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death in July 2017. Since then, the legal process has been marked with delays with reasons ranging from the arrest of his attorney to disputes over pre-trial motions to uncertainty about the novel coronavirus pandemic.
> The video above aired in July 2017 and goes over the grand jury's decision to indict Mark Redwine.
Jury selection for Mark Redwine's trial began Thursday in the La Plata County Courthouse in Durango.
More than 2,600 people have received a jury summons. The goal is to select 12 jurors and two alternates.
The judge told prospective jurors a jury is slated to be seated on Nov. 6, with opening statements beginning on Nov. 9.
A verdict is expected by Dec. 11, the judge said.
Here’s a look at the case, which captured headlines throughout Colorado and the country back in 2012, culminating with Mark Redwine’s arrest in 2017.
The disappearance of Dylan Redwine
Mark Redwine and his former wife, Elaine Hall, had a contentious divorce, but shared custody of their 13-year-old son Dylan.
On Nov. 18, 2012, the boy flew to Durango for a court-ordered visit with his father. This was also the last day that Dylan Redwine was seen alive.
According to the 2017 indictment, surveillance video showed Dylan Redwine and his father go to Walmart and McDonald’s before returning to Mark Redwine’s home in Bayfield, a community about 30 minutes east of Durango.
The final communication sent by Dylan Redwine was a text to meet up with a friend that next morning. He was not heard from again.
The indictment says Dylan Redwine fought with his father on a previous visit, and that the boy found “compromising” photos of Mark Redwine that disturbed the 13-year-old and created a deeper rift between them.
What happened the night of Dylan Redwine’s disappearance is not known. According to the indictment, Dylan Redwine’s blood was found in the living room of his father’s home, and a cadaver dog signaled that human remains had been near his father’s truck bed and on the clothes he said he was wearing the night his son disappeared.
Dylan Redwine was a missing person until June 2013, when searchers found part of his body eight miles up the road from his father’s house. According to the indictment, Mark Redwine had an ATV and was familiar with the road. Prosecutors said he was also seen driving on it before Dylan Redwine’s remains were found.
According to the indictment, Dylan's half-brother recounted a conversation with his father in June 2013, when he said Mark Redwine mentioned "blunt force trauma several times and discussed how investigators would have to find the rest of the body, including the skull, before they could determine the cause of death."
The boy’s skull wasn’t found until 2015, about a mile 1/2 up the road from the other remains, prosecutors said.
An autopsy found there was evidence of blunt force trauma.
The investigation into Mark Redwine
It took five years for Mark Redwine to be taken into custody, and it wasn't because of a single smoking gun piece of evidence.
Instead, it involved a review by prosecutors and investigators from Boulder, Denver and Jefferson counties — as well as the Colorado Attorney General's Office — to ultimately secure an indictment.
In a January 2013 interview with 9Wants to Know, Mark Redwine denied any involvement in his son’s disappearance.
“Absolutely not,” Redwine said then. “I would never do anything to harm that boy. I know they are looking at me for being involved at some sort of kidnapping scheme, which is one of the reasons I want them to look closely at me because the more they look at me, the more they are going to realize I have nothing to do with this.”
Despite the evidence, the La Plata County district attorney chose to hold off, instead waiting for enough to secure a conviction.
This ultimately led to the collaboration with other prosecutors. They eventually shared their evidence with a grand jury, which is a group of ordinary citizens who meet in secret to hear testimony, examine evidence, ask questions and decide whether criminal charges are warranted.
And in July 2017, they decided they were indeed warranted in the case against Mark Redwine.
A long legal process
Redwine was arrested in Bellingham, Washington and later extradited to Colorado, where he's been in custody and awaiting trial for more than three years.
Mark Redwine's trial was first postponed in November 2018 as a judge worked to rule on a number of pretrial motions.
A trial date in September 2019 was postponed again after his attorney was arrested on assault and domestic violence charges.
Finally, an April 2020 trial was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The latest pre-trial motions
Dozens of documents related to the case are available on the Colorado Courts website.
One order involves the use of face masks vs. face shields in the courtroom. According to the order, Redwine objected to the use of clear face shields for himself and witnesses in lieu of cloth face coverings, which are required in indoor public places throughout Colorado.
The judge will require face coverings in the courtroom.
Back in April, the judge issued a supplemental order regarding the naming of an alternative suspect, and barring some testimony related to that person.
A motion from Redwine's spring trial lists four potential alternative suspects. It's unclear if the defense will continue to present these theories.
Jury selection began on Thursday. Following voir dire, the trial will be streamed on WebEx to ensure social distancing in the courtroom.
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