DURANGO, Colo. – After years of delay, opening statements in the Mark Redwine trial got underway in Durango Monday. The father, charged with second-degree murder and child abuse leading to death, is accused of killing his 13-year-old son, Dylan Redwine, in 2012.
Prosecutors argued that Redwine became enraged when he learned Dylan and his older brother, Cory Redwine, had viewed compromising photos of him. They said this anger led to Dylan's death. Prosecutors said the brothers referred to their father as a “sh-t eater.”
Redwine's public defender, John Moran, argued that it was an absurd notion that Redwine would kill anyone who viewed those photos, especially his son. He contended that Dylan left his father’s home and he was later attacked and killed by a mountain lion or bear.
Dylan was on a court-ordered visit to see Redwine, around Thanksgiving Day 2012. The teenager was last seen alive on Nov. 18, 2012.
The partial remains of Dylan were found 10 miles from his father's home north of Vallecito Lake in La Plata County in June 2013, according to an indictment. His skull was located more than two years later, on Nov. 1, 2015, about a mile and a half from the previously located remains.
Anthropologists who studied the skull determined the injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma in two locations, according to an indictment. The skull also had two small markings consistent with tool marks from a knife, the indictment shows.
Special Deputy District Attorney Fred Johnson told the jury that the state will call up 50 witnesses during the course of the trial and prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Redwine killed his 13-year-old son and “redirected(investigators) for months and years to avoid this very day.”
Johnson played a video showing Dylan and Redwine visiting a Walmart the day Dylan arrived in Durango. The video depicted Dylan being standoffish toward Redwine, which he argued showed animosity that he felt for his father.
During opening arguments, Johnson said that animosity came to a head when Redwine discovered that Dylan had seen disturbing photos depicting Redwine in women's underwear and eating feces. He said Redwine drove Dylan through a McDonald’s drive-thru after leaving Walmart and then drove down down a dead-end road the night of Nov. 18, 2012, and Dylan was not seen alive again. Prosecutors said all communication and roaming data from Dylan’s cellphone ceased on April 19.
Johnson showed the jury photos of Redwine’s living room, where they said luminol was used to reveal blood evidence on the floor under an area rug. Johnson said investigators also found Dylan’s blood on a couch cushion.
Moran tried to poke holes in the evidence during his opening statement, arguing that Dylan’s blood found on the couch cushion was “infinitesimally small.”
Moran argued that Redwine was a loving father and would not harm his son. He argued that after Redwine refused to allow Dylan to sleepover at a friend’s house, Dylan got up early in the morning on April 19 and sneaked out of his father’s home while Redwine was at work. While Dylan was walking the five miles to his friend’s home, a mountain lion or bear attacked and killed Dylan, his defense attorney argued.
Moran argued that the blunt force trauma observed on Dylan’s skull is consistent with the force of a jaw from a mountain lion or bear.
Victim advocate Robert Wells, who is the executive director of Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, said this trial has been a long time coming for Dylan's mother.
"You have got one challenge after another and the family, what they go through is just unbelievable," said Wells. "I can assure you a district attorney took his time to make sure he has the evidence necessary to show a jury and a judge and prove his case beyond a reasonable doubt."
Redwine's trial was initially set to begin last year but was rescheduled several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The jury will be back in the courtroom Tuesday morning.