A mistrial has been declared in the trial for Mark Redwine after his defense lawyers said members of their team had COVID-19 symptoms.
On Monday, Redwine’s public defenders – Justin Bogan and John Moran – asked for a mistrial because of the need to quarantine.
In response, 6th Judicial District Attorney Christian Champagne, the lead prosecutor in the case, questioned whether the defense team was “intentionally” trying to delay the trial.
Champagne said Moran was seen with another person and no mask during a time Moran should be in quarantine.
“That certainly undercuts their position,” Champagne said.
Moran chose not to respond to the allegation, other than to say he was in his yard without a mask. In the lead-up to the trial, Redwine’s public defenders tried multiple times to delay the trial citing COVID-19 concerns. All were denied.
District Judge Jeffrey Wilson, overseeing the case, went into recess Monday morning, but in the afternoon declared a mistrial.
“The Court, for the reasons stated on the record and without making any findings as to the veracity of the allegations, finds that even if such allegations are true, the Court has no choice but to grant D-180 and declare a mistrial to ensure that Mr. Redwine has effective assistance of counsel,” Wilson wrote.
Champagne did not respond to a request for comment.
The mistrial effectively cancels the long-awaited trial, which started Oct. 29 and was still in the jury selection phase.
The future of the trial of Redwine, accused of killing his 13-year-old son, Dylan, in 2012, was already uncertain amid concerns about COVID-19.
On Thursday, Wilson temporarily suspended proceedings after he woke up with mild symptoms associated with the coronavirus. But blood and nasal swab tests both came back negative, Wilson said Monday.
But on Monday, Redwine’s public defenders said members of their team also have COVID-like symptoms.
Bogan said his office is awaiting test results for his staff members, though one member did test negative.
Bogan argued that regardless of the outcome of the tests, members of his team are advised by health regulations to quarantine for 10 to 14 days from when symptoms were first noted, which was Thursday.
“I believe that puts us in a position of requesting the court to declare a mistrial at this time,” Bogan said.
Champagne said he believed jury selection could safely continue. He said that at a minimum, the trial could be delayed a few days until test results are received.
The trial for Redwine has been postponed and delayed numerous times over the years, resulting in the Vallecito man being detained at the La Plata County Jail for three years.
Elaine Hall, Dylan’s mother, spoke Monday in support of continuing the trial, informing Wilson of how hard the situation has been on her and her family.
“We are victimized over and over again,” she said. “I beg of you, judge, keep this trial on track.”
Wilson, for his part, empathized with Hall and her family.
“I know this is affecting your lives, I know your lives have been on hold since 2012,” he said. “I can’t imagine the pain of losing a brother or son. ... I just can’t imagine it.”
Redwine was arrested in July 2017 in connection with Dylan’s death. He has been in custody ever since at the La Plata County Jail awaiting trial.
A status conference was set for 11 a.m. Nov. 13.