Mark Redwine’s legal fate moved into the hands of a jury Thursday following closing arguments in the 5-week-long murder trial in Durango.
Redwine, 59, is accused of second-degree murder and child abuse in the death of his son, 13-year-old Dylan Redwine, who disappeared during a court-ordered visit to his father’s Vallecito home over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012.
Prosecutors have said Redwine killed his son in a fit of rage during a confrontation over photos that depicted Redwine eating feces out of a diaper. The photos irreparably damaged the relationship between Dylan and his father, who was increasingly cut off from his youngest son in the months before his death, prosecutors alleged.
“The defendant killed his son because they were in a deteriorating, damaging relationship that turned deadly in November 2012,” Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty, who helped prosecute the case, said during closing arguments.
Redwine’s public defender, Justin Bogan, said Redwine was wrongfully accused in a highly circumstantial case with “thin evidence” and asked the jury to return a not guilty verdict. The defense has argued that Dylan ran away from home and was killed by a wild animal.
“Justice is not achieved, closure is not achieved, when the wrong person gets convicted,” Bogan said. “I submit to you that because of the evidence and lack of evidence in this case, justice is a not guilty verdict.”
Dylan’s disappearance prompted an extensive search and drew national attention. Some of his bones were found in 2013, in rugged terrain on Middle Mountain about eight miles from Redwine’s home. Part of his skull was discovered in 2015 about 1.5 miles away from the first site.
Investigators allege Dylan was killed on the night of Nov. 18, 2012, in Redwine’s living room, where forensic scientists discovered traces of blood on a coffee table, couch and under a rug. During closing arguments Thursday, Dougherty said Dylan might have confronted his father about the photos of Redwine eating feces, but admitted to the jury that there is no way to prove exactly what happened when Dylan was killed.
“Perhaps it’s the poop pictures,” Dougherty told the jury. “I can’t tell you. I can’t tell you what was going on in his mind that night. Perhaps Dylan just said, ‘F-U.’ Perhaps Dylan cursed at him. … Whether it was the diaper pictures — which obviously had an impact on Dylan and (his brother) Cory, both were terribly disturbed by seeing their dad like that — or whether it was Dylan just saying something, the defendant had had enough.”
Bogan argued to the jury that the prosecution’s uncertainty meant jurors should render a not guilty verdict.
“If they cannot tell you, after nine years, what happened, because they don’t know — if they don’t know, you don’t know,” he said.
Investigators wrongly focused their investigation on Redwine, reading into his actions after Dylan disappeared as evidence of guilt when they were in fact just the actions of a grieving father, Bogan said, dismissing evidence that didn’t point to Redwine as the culprit.
“When someone is on trial for murdering their youngest son, and the prosecution’s thesis is, ‘What if,’ or ‘maybe,’ or ‘can you imagine’ — that’s a window into how weak the evidence is in this case,” Bogan said. “…When they’re starting off with ‘maybe,’ your deliberations end with ‘not guilty.’”
The jury broke for the day not long after the completion of closing arguments and will resume Friday.
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