The long-awaited murder trial of Mark Redwine is finally underway.
The 59-year-old is accused of killing his teenage son Dylan, who disappeared after a court-ordered visit on Thanksgiving of 2012.
On Monday, a district court in Duango, Colorado heard opening arguments from prosecution and defense lawyers, who painted two very different pictures of what happened to the 13-year-old the weekend he was killed.
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Public defender John Moran argued the teen, who did not want to visit his dad, ran away from his home and may ultimately have been killed by a bear or mountain lion, pointing to what he said was a tooth mark on his skull.
But according to Special Deputy District Attorney Fred Johnson, Redwine murdered his son after being confronted about compromising photographs of him dressed in women’s underwear, eating feces from a diaper, which had earned him the nickname “s–t eater”.
Dylan was first reported missing on November 19, 2012. The first of his remains were not discovered until the following year, in the woods about eight miles from his father’s home. His skull was found two years later, a further mile away, having suffered blunt force trauma.
His father told investigators he had left his son alone at home to run errands, but returned to find him missing.
He wasn’t arrested until July of 2017. He pled not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
“A damaged relationship, exposed with compromising photographs, photographs in the hands of a 13-year-old who is disgusted by it, which triggered a violent rage in the defendant,” Johnson told the court, per the Denver Post
He claimed Redwine killed his son in his living room before dumping his body off a trail, pointing to a trace amount of the boy’s blood found in the house, and the scent of human remains picked up by cadaver dogs on the father’s clothing and truck.
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He dismissed the defense theory he ran away and was killed by an animal, pointing out the boy was found without any identifying items, such as his wallet or backpack; “An animal would have no interest in taking that,” he said.
He also claimed that at 11 PM on the night of Dylan’s disappearance, as rescue crews were combing the woods, the lights went out at the Redwine house.
“At a time when most people would have been out in the woods with a flashlight, a time when most people would know to leave the light on in case a child was lost in the woods… At 11 PM, the defendant’s house went dark,” Johnson said. “Dylan was gone.”
Moran meanwhile claimed the photographs, which came “from deep within Mark’s private life”, bore no significance on the case, and there was no way of proving any connection between them and the boy’s death; he pointed out that text messages show Dylan had already confronted his father about them previously, and nothing happened.
He claimed the amount of blood found was so “infinitesimally small” it could have been found in anybody’s living room, and dismissed the cadaver dog evidence as “junk science”.
The case drew national attention after the boy’s divorced parents made accusations against each other in an episode of “Dr. Phil” covering the disappearance.
After the trial was delayed multiple times, testimony finally begins on Tuesday; if convicted, Redwine faces up to 48 years in prison.
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