In his first public comments since being arrested nearly four years ago for allegedly killing his 13-year-old son, Dylan, in 2012, Mark Redwine on Friday voiced frustration after his trial was again delayed, this time until June.
“This has gone on far too long,” Redwine told the court. “My day in court is a long, long, long time overdue.”
Redwine was arrested in July 2017, and he has remained in custody at the La Plata County Jail since then awaiting trial. Over the years, there have been numerous delays and setbacks.
Most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated what is expected to be a multi-week trial that would involve calling hundreds of potential jurors, as well as numerous people to testify.
A trial that started this past fall was off to a promising start until Redwine’s defense attorneys claimed they were showing symptoms related to the virus, forcing District Judge Jeffery Wilson to declare a mistrial.
On Friday, Wilson said the COVID-19 incidence rate is actually higher than it was in mid-November when the mistrial was declared. As a result, he again declared a mistrial for a trial that was supposed to start in April.
“I also want to get this case over with,” Wilson said. “But I do have a responsibility to the community to keep it as safe as I can.”
Redwine, in his first public comments since being arrested, said he wanted to address the court, and was advised by his defense attorneys to speak carefully and not comment on any allegations or facts in the case.
“I empathize with the position you’re in, this is a difficult decision you have to make,” Redwine said to Wilson. “But this does need to happen and should be a priority in this county to have my trial held.”
Redwine said he was recently offered a COVID-19 vaccine, and while he said he was skeptical to receive it, he told Wilson he would take the doses if it meant they could hold a trial.
“I’d be more than willing to do that if that’s what it takes,” he said. “I understand things aren’t looking good today, but tomorrow is another day, and who knows what we’re going to be up against in a month from now?”
Dylan’s mother, Elaine Hall, also spoke Friday to express the deep frustration and pain she and her family go through every time a trial is delayed. She said Redwine’s trial has been delayed 13 times since 2017.
“It’s overwhelming, and I always try to think of a creative way to say the same thing, and I can’t,” she said. “The bottom line is, at some point we have to move on with this trial. There has to be finalization of this story of Dylan and we need that final chapter. The way it looks right now, we’re never going to get there.”
Hall said there is extreme emotional and financial stress that comes with all the delays of Redwine’s trial. She estimated her family has lost $6,000 in deposits for houses to rent during the trial.
Hall also pointed out that it has now been nearly a decade since Dylan went missing, and many people familiar with the case may lose sight of details, which could impact the trial.
“As time goes by, people’s memory fades,” she said.
Hall added that it is hard for her family to have closure and move on with the trial continually lingering in their lives.
“Dylan was the victim of the crime, we’re the victims of this process,” she said. “We want to find other ways to celebrate Dylan’s memory and not always come back to, ‘When will this trial happen?’ It’s frustrating, it’s exhausting.”
Wilson empathized with Hall.
“If I were in your situation, I don’t think I’d feel any different,” Wilson said.
Regardless, Wilson said as a matter of public safety, he must declare a mistrial and delay the trial again.
Wilson said he hopes to resume jury trials for county court cases in mid-April, which are typically shorter in length with smaller juries. And he hopes to resume district court trials at the end of April, which are usually five days or less.
But a trial the size and length of Redwine’s, which could last six to seven weeks, would have to be put off until the summer, Wilson said, arguing he did not want to start a trial and have it ultimately canceled like it was in the fall.
Wilson rescheduled Redwine’s trial to start June 14.
The homicide trial is perhaps the most high-profile case in Southwest Colorado in years, which caught international media attention shortly after Dylan went missing in November 2012.
Dylan was last seen alive Nov. 18, 2012, when he arrived at the airport for the court-ordered visit. Redwine and Elaine Hall divorced in 2007, and Hall moved her two sons to Colorado Springs.
After an extensive search, Dylan’s remains were found in a mountainous area in 2013, about 10 miles from his father’s home. Dylan’s death was ruled a homicide in 2015, yet for the next two years, no arrests were made in connection with his disappearance.
In July 2017, however, Redwine was arrested while working as a truck driver in Washington state, and charged on suspicion of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
For years, prosecutors have maintained Redwine’s motive stems from a contentious relationship with his son, who allegedly did not want to visit his father during a court-ordered visit over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Redwine, for his part, said he left early on the morning of Nov. 19 to run errands in Durango and when he returned Dylan wasn’t there. At first, Redwine said he didn’t think much of it, and assumed Dylan went to visit friends.