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LATEST CORONAVIRUS CASES
As of 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7

In Colorado

  • 264,618 cases, (up 4,037 from yesterday)
  • 14,904 hospitalized, (up 36 from yesterday)
  • 1,873,788 people tested (up 15,447 from yesterday)
  • 2,776 deaths from COVID (up 52 from yesterday)
  • 2,403 Outbreaks at residential and non-hospital health care facilities

In the region

  • La Plata County: 1,800 cases (up 24 from yesterday), 7 deaths
  • Montezuma County: 869 cases, 6 deaths
  • Archuleta County: 338 cases (up 14 from yesterday)
  • Dolores County: 35 cases, (up 5 from yesterday)
  • San Juan County (CO): 20 cases (up 1 from yesterday)
  • San Juan County (NM): 6,906 cases (up 119 from yesterday), 250 deaths,
  • San Miguel County: 268 cases, (up 1 from yesterday)

Videos & Photos

Video: Snowdown Big Wheel Derby, aka, Tiny Bike0VideoYouTube48036030002312
Gloves come off in first debate between congressional candidates Don Coram and Lauren BoebertRepublican primary opponents offered voters a glimpse of their different approaches to legislating1300952State Sen. Don Coram answers a question while debating U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert on Thursday at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio for the first of two debates ahead of next month’s Republican primary. Coram touted his track record in the Colorado Legislature as one of the reasons voters should cast their ballot for him. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)IGNACIO – Sparks flew during Thursday’s debate between state Sen. Don Coram and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert as they jousted ahead of next month’s Republican primary.The two met Thursday morning at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio in a crowded event center filled with about 150 people split down the middle, literally; Coram supporters on left and Boebert supporters on the right.It was the first of two debates scheduled for the candidates.Moderated by Dave Woodruff, general manager for El Moro Tavern and the Durango chapter president for the Colorado Restaurant Association, the two began by discussing gun control in the wake of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that left 21 people dead earlier this week before moving to more local topics such as public land management, wildfires, worker shortages and water.1600765State Sen. Don Coram and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert debate in front of a crowded audience Thursday at the Sky Ute Casino Resort. The two discussed a range of topics, including gun control, agriculture and worker shortages. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)16001142State Sen. Don Coram listens to U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert as the two debate Thursday at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio. The two offered voters opposing styles of legislating and criticized one another throughout the debate. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)In the strictly cast event with no signs and no cheering after questions, Boebert supporters broke out multiple times in applause while Coram supporters laughed at statements the congresswoman made, prompting Boebert at one point to shout “order.”The debate was relatively civil at the beginning with both candidates answering Woodruff’s questions and trading barbs, but it quickly devolved into attacks during the approximately 10 minutes of cross examination when each candidate was allowed to ask a question of the other and then respond.Boebert’s first attempt was less a question than a comment.“Don, I want you to hear this directly from me,” she said. “The information proposed about you at corruptcoram.com is absolutely facts, facts, facts. You are corrupt sir. You use your political office to pass legislation to line your own pockets.”When Woodruff interjected and asked the Rifle Republican to ask a question, she said: “Any comments?”Throughout her primary campaign, Boebert has taken to calling her opponent “Corrupt Coram,” alleging that he used his time in the Colorado Legislature to pass legislation that would benefit his hemp operation and citing the website “corruptcoram.com” and an editorial by The Gazette in Colorado Springs.Boebert’s campaign runs corruptcoram.com, and The Gazette editorial board endorsed Boebert in the 2020 election.1300867Dave Woodruff, general manager for El Moro Tavern and the Durango chapter president for the Colorado Restaurant Association, moderates the debate between state Sen. Don Coram and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert as Jean Walter with the League of Women Voters keeps the time Thursday at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Coram, a Montrose Republican, returned the jab, noting the Federal Election Commission’s investigation into Boebert’s personal use of campaign funds and her failure to disclose her husband’s income from the energy industry.“You are absolutely false, and if you want to talk about corruption, let’s talk about you,” he said.During the debate, Coram positioned himself as a moderate who could work across the aisle. He relied heavily on his track record as a state representative and a senator in arguing for voters’ support.Boebert also touted her work in the U.S. House over the last year and a half, often answering Woodruff’s question by highlighting legislation she has introduced.16001017State Sen. Don Coram and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert debate Thursday at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio in the first of two debates ahead of next month’s 3rd Congressional District Republican primary. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)16001110Rep. Lauren Boebert answers a question while debating state Sen. Don Coram at the Sky Ute Casino Resort. Boebert questioned Coram’s conservative credentials and highlighted her own in fiery two-minute segments. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Coram finished his opening statement by challenging Boebert’s work, comparing her time in Congress to a football player who throws many passes but completes few.“You are introducing, introducing, introducing, but passing is the word,” he said.Both candidates hit on conservative policies, including border security, stopping fentanyl, reining in spending and a limited role for the federal government. However, Boebert attacked Coram’s Republican credentials throughout the debate.9501215U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert answers a question while debating state Sen. Don Coram on Thursday at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio. The debate quickly devolved into attacks during the approximately 10 minutes of cross examination when each candidate was allowed to ask a question of the other and then respond. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)She questioned Coram’s 2017 vote to fund the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, a voluntary and anonymous survey that asks middle and high schoolers about topics including sexual activity, drug and alcohol use, and suicide.Coram was one of two Republicans who voted to renew funding for the survey, which in recent years has become a target of conservatives.Boebert also targeted Coram’s vote for a 2019 bill that made less than 4 grams of fentanyl a misdemeanor, a vote Coram said he regretted.“I certainly stand by my votes and don’t regret them because I read the bills and understand them,” Boebert said.Though the candidates’ differed in their approaches to the debate – Boebert fiery and charismatic and Coram calm and reasoned – the starkest difference between the two was in their responses to Woodruff’s question about election integrity.Toeing the line of former President Donald Trump’s false election claims, Boebert said hundreds of thousands of votes were cast illegally and that the “Fauci-funded China virus” (coronavirus) interfered with the 2020 election, a statement that was met with guffaws from Coram’s supporters.Coram did not reject that voter fraud may have occurred during the last election, but he said there was no evidence to support Boebert’s claims, later telling reporters that every election has some degree of voter fraud but that it does not make a difference in the outcome.1300867State Sen. Don Coram and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert debate Thursday at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio. The room was divided between Boebert’s supporters on the right and Coram’s on the left. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)“I’ve heard all these talks about all this evidence, but I’ve never seen it in a court of law,” Coram said during the debate.The responses from both candidates oscillated between addressing local and national issues as they sought to appeal to the Republican and unaffiliated voters in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District who will decide the June 28 Republican primary.The 3rd Congressional District covers the Western Slope of Colorado and extends to Pueblo County in the southern half of the state.Boebert often approached her responses through a national lens, assailing federal policies for Colorado’s workforce shortages and depicting immigration into a local issue.“Every state is a border state when you have 3 million illegal aliens invading our country,” she said.When asked by Woodruff after she discussed her vocal opposition to pandemic shutdowns why she voted no on the Restaurant Revitalization Fund Replenishment Act, which would put $42 billion toward supporting restaurants and small businesses affected by the pandemic, Boebert put her platform succinctly.“I would have to look at that bill specifically, but I’m sure that there was something with too much spending, not the proper role of government or not going through the proper order,” she said.Coram reiterated his background in agriculture and his time representing the Western Slope throughout the debate. He attempted to keep his answers focused on local issues relevant to the voters of the 3rd Congressional District, portraying Boebert as out of touch with the issues voters in the district face.9501123State Sen. Don Coram and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert shake hands at the conclusion of Thursday’s debate at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)During the cross examination, Coram asked Boebert about her stance on water as a public trust.Public trust doctrine holds that water can never be privately controlled, a departure from Colorado’s system of prior appropriation, which essentially allows water to be possessed and sold by private individuals.Boebert dodged the question, leading Coram to ask it again.“I think that’s a great answer, but it doesn’t answer the question,” Coram said.The debate began awkwardly when Boebert met Coram on stage and Coram questioned why his opponent had notes, saying he believed the candidates’ campaigns had agreed to not allow them.Boebert, who referred to her notes throughout the debate, replied that the campaigns had agreed to allow paper.Speaking to reporters after the debate, Coram said he and his campaign felt good about the race, noting that unaffiliated voters, a growing subset of the district’s voters, will be able to cast a ballot in the primary. Boebert did not speak with reporters, instead engaging with her supporters after the event.A second debate between the two Republican candidates will be held in Pueblo ahead of the June primary, but a date and time has yet to be determined.Both candidates professed Thursday to offer voters their own approach to legislating.“I’ve been very effective in getting things done because I know how to work together and create coalitions,” Coram said. “We have a nation in D.C. that is so divided that they couldn’t agree on buying ice cream and that needs to change.”Boebert made a different pitch.“I ran as a conservative and I won as a conservative. I legislate as a conservative because I am one, and I will win this primary because I’m the only conservative in this race,” she said.ahannon@durangoherald.com0VideoYouTube480360
Republican primary opponents offered voters a glimpse of their different approaches to legislating
Durango tests ‘alternative’ fireworks Tuesday nightCity evaluating close-proximity pyrotechnics from perspective of safety and spectacle9501361Ernie Simmons with Zambelli Fireworks fires a test round of “close-proximity” fireworks Tuesday from Greenmount Cemetery. The city of Durango shot four short fireworks tests. The tests weren’t expected to make much noise, and the closest thing to a spectacle residents saw were short bursts of light about 200 feet into the air. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Will residents of Durango finally be treated to an in-town fireworks show? The city is exploring ways to make it happen after going years without annual shows because of COVID-19 and extreme drought, said Ellen Babers, community events administrator for the city.“We’re looking for alternatives because it may be a reality that we can’t do the big fireworks anymore,” she said.The city held four fireworks tests from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at various locations around townwhich will be finalized Tuesday afternoon. But the tests, which consisted of only one 30- to 60-second burst at each site, weren’t worth planning an evening around, Babers said.The fireworks will make little noise, and the most residents might see are short bursts of light, according to a written notice from Babers.Because standard fireworks are considered too risky during severe drought, the city is trying alternative fireworks that are designed differently. Specifically, the city tested “close-proximity” fireworks that are designed to burn up completely without a trace. Whether the fireworks completely burn up remains to be seen, she said.The close-proximity fireworks shoot only 125 to 250 feet into the air and are designed so spectators can be as near as 50 to 80 feet away, although the best viewing distance is from 1,200 feet away, Babers said.0VideoYouTube480360She said the close-proximity fireworks are similar to the types of fireworks used during the opening ceremonies at the Olympics and football games at Denver’s Mile High Stadium.The city is working with Zambelli Fireworks, its contracted fireworks provider, to see if the alternative fireworks might be a good fit for this year’s planned Fourth of July show, she said.The city tested both safety and impact. In other words, are the alternative fireworks safe and are they enjoyable? Babers said the Durango Fire Protection District and Fire Marshal Karola Hanks were present at the test sites to observe the fireworks in action.“They (the fireworks) are designed to have no fallout, but they need to look at it from a fire point of view nonetheless,” Babers said.To gauge how enjoyable the close-proximity fireworks are, the city stationed spectators at varying points around town who try to imagine how the fireworks might look on the night of July 4. They checked for visibility and impressiveness.“I have spotters all over the city at different locations,” Babers said.The tests were planned to be held at several locations around town.four of the following five locations, which hadn’t been finalized as of Tuesday morning Greenmount Cemetery, the Transit Center parking lot, the Transit Center roof, the 9-R Administration Building roof and La Plata County Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena floor were all possible testing grounds.1300986Ernie Simmons with Zambelli Fireworks prepares to fire a test round of “close-proximity” fireworks on Tuesday from Greenmount Cemetery. The city of Durango shot four short fireworks tests. The tests weren’t expected to make much noise, and the closest thing to a spectacle residents saw were short bursts of light about 200 feet into the air. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)In a written notice, Babers said traffic control wouldn’t be needed although the Colorado Department of Transportation approved the placement of two message boards on Camino del Rio.She said residents who might have spotted the fireworks as they were being tested had no need to report them to the fire department. Just one test up to about a minute long was planned for each location.The city has considered other alternatives to traditional fireworks such as drone shows and laser light shows.Fourth of July festivities through the city will be spread out across Sunday, July 3, and Monday, July 4, this year, said Tim Walsworth at January’s Business Improvement District meeting.“Fireworks are hard in the age of climate change,” he said at the time.cburney@durangoherald.com
City evaluating close-proximity pyrotechnics from perspective of safety and spectacle
VIDEO: Watch the sentencing hearing for Mark Redwine0VideoYouTube4803609501205Mark Redwine was sentenced Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, to 48 years in prison after being found guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his 13-year-old son, Dylan.
Mark Redwine was sentenced Friday, Oct. 8, 2021, to 48 years in prison after being found guilty ...
Jury finds Mark Redwine guilty of killing his sonDylan disappeared during visit to father’s house in 201216001176Mark Redwine shows no emotion Friday at the La Plata County Courthouse as Jeffrey R. Wilson, chief judge of the 6th Judicial District, reads the jury’s verdict of guilty on two counts, second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Jurors on Friday found Mark Redwine guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death, bringing an end to a five-week trial and nine-year investigation into the disappearance of his 13-year-old son, Dylan.A packed courtroom at the La Plata County Courthouse erupted with gasps Friday as the verdict was read by 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Jeffrey Wilson. The decision came after about six hours of jury deliberations.Redwine, wearing a green tie, black shirt and dark pants, showed no emotion. He stood with both hands clasped in front of him, and sat calmly after the verdicts were read.0VideoYouTube480360The 12-person jury sat through a five-week trial in which dozens of witnesses testified and hundreds of exhibits were presented as evidence.The jury heard about six hours of closing arguments before going into deliberations about 3:30 p.m. Thursday. The court announced jurors had reached a verdict shortly before 2 p.m. Friday.“This has been an extremely difficult case for everybody involved,” Wilson told the court before announcing the verdict. Wilson also warned those in the courtroom to “behave” as the decision was read.16001067Friends of Eliane Hall become emotional in the courtroom after Mark Redwine was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son Dylan Redwine on Friday during the trial for Mark Redwine in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Redwine’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 8. He faces up to 48 years in prison. He is being held in the La Plata County Jail without bail.Prosecutors said Redwine killed his son in a fit of rage on Nov. 18, 2012, after the boy confronted his father about photos showing his father in women’s lingerie while eating what appeared to be feces from a diaper.Cory Redwine, Dylan’s brother, testified that Dylan “lost all respect” for his father when the two found the pictures during a 2011 Midwest trip.15421160Dylan RedwineDefense lawyers said Dylan was alive the morning of Nov. 19, when his father made a trip into town to do a work-related activity and to visit his attorney. He returned home to find Dylan missing, a bowl of cereal on the table and the television turned to Nickelodeon.They suggested harm may have befallen Dylan by a stranger or wildlife in the rugged backcountry north of Vallecito Reservoir.Prosecutors emphasized during closing arguments that Dylan was “scared” to visit his father for Thanksgiving. Elaine Hall, Dylan’s mother, had just won a contentious custody battle months before that allowed her to move to Colorado Springs. Divorce proceedings between Hall and Redwine lasted from 2005 to 2009 with ongoing custody disputes.16001097Family and friends of Elaine Hall, center, gather in the hallway after Mark Redwine was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Redwine faces up to 48 years in prison. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Law enforcement and family testified that Redwine appeared “laid-back” and displayed “odd” behavior when Dylan went missing and put little effort into finding his son.Public defender Justin Bogan argued that Redwine didn’t have the time or knowledge of anatomy to dispose of his son and get to work in Durango the next morning.Some of Dylan Redwine’s remains were found in June 2013 near his father’s home. Hikers found his skull in 2015.“I figured he was safe because he was with his dad, and I was devastated that no one knew where my son was,” Hall told jurors in June.The family went on the “Dr. Phil” show in February 2013 before Dylan’s remains were found. Hall confronted Redwine on the show and demanded answers about their son’s disappearance and was concerned he hurt Dylan.“When you’re mad at somebody, your main focus is to get even or get back at them and hurt them,” Hall told Redwine on the show. “That’s how your mind works.”Redwine agreed to take a polygraph test on the show, but as the test was getting set up, Redwine declined to take the test.Hall filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Redwine in June 2015, which was dismissed based on statute of limitations. Months later, Redwine was deemed a “person of interest” in the case.Redwine was indicted in 2017 in connection with the disappearance of his son because of blood found in the home belonging to Dylan. The trial was delayed several times as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and after one of Redwine’s attorneys was arrested in 2019 on domestic violence charges, which were later dismissed.Before the verdict was given, jurors requested the transcript of FBI Agent John Grusing’s testimony and the agent’s report, but transcripts are typically not allowed back with the jury. The prosecution and defense opposed providing the transcripts, and Wilson agreed.Less than a half hour later, jurors announced they had reached a verdict.Kaela Roeder is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a 2021 graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.Jury verdicts are handed to Jeffrey R. Wilson, chief judge of the 6th Judicial District, before he reads them, announcing that Mark Redwine is guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11051600Mark Redwine shows no emotion as Jeffrey R. Wilson, chief judge of the 6th Judicial District, reads guilty verdicts Friday at the La Plata County Courthouse. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10071600Mark Redwine shows no emotion as Jeffrey R. Wilson, chief judge of the 6th Judicial District, reads guilty verdicts Friday at the La Plata County Courthouse. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11761600Rob Robertson, a close family friend to Elaine Hall, becomes emotional in the courtroom on Friday after Mark Redwine was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11521600Friends of Elaine Hall become emotional in the courtroom Friday after Mark Redwine was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son Dylan Redwine. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10671600Family and friends of Elaine Hall gather to hear the verdict on Mark Redwine, who was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9291600A nearly full courtroom before the verdict of Mark Redwine, who was convicted Friday of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9731600Family and friends of Elaine Hall gather in the hallway Friday after Mark Redwine was found guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10191600Ryan Nava, a childhood friend of Dylan Redwine’s, tears up Friday as he talks about Dylan outside the La Plata County Courthouse in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1349950Anne Cook, left, a friend of Elaine Hall, hugs Kaitlyn Miller, cousin of Dylan Redwine, after the verdict of Mark Redwine on Friday. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1099950Tonya Goldbricht, with the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office, hugs Elaine Hall, mother of Dylan Redwine, outside the courtroom Friday after Mark Redwine was found guilty of murdering his son, Dylan. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11941600Family and friends of Elaine Hall, center, gather in the hallway outside the courtroom Friday after Mark Redwine was found guilty of killing his son, Dylan. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10971600Elaine Hall and her husband, Mike Hall, after Mark Redwine was found guilty of killing 13-year-old Dylan Redwine. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald988950Rob Robertson, a close family friend to Elaine Hall, becomes emotional in the courtroom after Mark Redwine was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son Dylan Redwine. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1118950Elaine Hall and her son Cory Redwine talk about the trial and Dylan Redwine after Mark Redwine was found guilty of murdering 13-year-old Dylan. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11441600Cory Redwine spoke to reporters Friday after his father, Mark Redwine, was convicted of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his brother, Dylan, 13. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald13001300Cory Redwine gets a hug after his father, Mark Redwine, was found guilty of killing Cory’s younger brother, Dylan. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11671600
Dylan disappeared during visit to father’s house in 2012
Jury begins deliberations after closing arguments in Redwine caseProsecutors ask jurors to use common sense; defense team focuses on reasonable doubt15741079Public defender Justin Bogan finishes his closing argument Thursday in Durango with his client, Mark Redwine, to his right and fellow public defender John Moran to his left. Public defenders said jurors may not agree with how Redwine behaved after his son disappeared, but he’s not guilty of murder. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Prosecutors asked jurors to rely on common sense and life experiences in convicting Mark Redwine of killing his 13-year-old son, while defense lawyers urged jurors to acquit the defendant based on reasonable doubt.Dylan was “scared” to travel to Vallecito on a court-ordered visit to his father’s house in November 2012 because of rifts in the relationship and an unspoken frustration about sordid photos Dylan found showing his father in women's lingerie while eating what appeared to be feces from a diaper, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty told jurors Thursday. A confrontation caused Redwine to kill his son, prosecutors say.The defense argues there is not enough physical evidence to prove Redwine killed his son. Public defender Justin Bogan said Redwine didn’t have the time or knowledge of anatomy to dispose of his son and get to work in Durango early the next morning.Jurors began deliberations about 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Before closing arguments, 6th Judicial District Chief Judge Jeffrey Wilson announced that a juror was excused from the case because of comments the person made about Redwine’s guilt. It was the second juror to be dismissed, but only 12 jurors were needed, and the trial started with 16 jurors, including four alternates.16112211Dylan RedwineDylan Redwine was in the stages of breaking off his relationship with his father, something other family members had done, when Redwine killed him, Dougherty said.“This relationship was severing,” he told jurors. “It was splicing and it was cutting and it was coming to an end because the defendant’s words and his deeds had pushed this loving young boy to a point where Dylan no longer wanted to have any contact with the defendant, and the only reason he had contact with the defendant was because the court ordered him to do so,” Dougherty said.At its core, Dougherty said it is a simple and tragic case: Who was the last person seen with Dylan? Who was with Dylan the moment he sent his last text message?16001183Prosecutor Michael Dougherty said the relationship between Mark Redwine and his son, Dylan, had been severed. The father killed his son and disposed of the body, Dougherty said in closing arguments Thursday in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)“A damaged and deteriorating relationship that turns deadly on Nov. 18, 2012,” Dougherty told jurors. “And despite the defendant’s best efforts to avoid responsibility and accountability, we are here today, and justice is about to come.”Dylan told friends and family he didn’t want to visit his father over the Thanksgiving break in Vallecito. But he was ordered to do so as part of a custody agreement. His mother, Elaine Hall, contacted her attorney in an attempt to get Dylan out of it.“That relationship was coming to an end,” Dougherty said. “And for the defendant, this was incredibly frustrating.”0VideoYouTube480360Mark Redwine, in a dark blue suit and a bright yellow shirt, listened attentively and stoically as both Dougherty and Bogan, delivered closing arguments.Hall, watching in the spectators benches, wiped away tears as Dougherty finished his closing argument.The prosecutor told jurors: “On Nov. 18, 2012, Elaine Hall experienced a parent’s worst nightmare. The worst nightmare a parent can have. When you send a text at 10:09 as Elaine did on the night of Nov. 18: ‘How’s it going son, you OK?’ She’s been waiting nine years for a response. She’s been waiting for nine years for a response because this guy killed her son,” he said as he pointed to Mark Redwine.He added: “This is the response she gets now: No, your son is not OK. Mark Redwine killed him and should be held fully responsible, fully accountable.”Dylan endured blunt force trauma and sharp force injuries to the head, Dougherty said. Redwine dumped the body in the rugged backcountry northeast of Vallecito Reservoir to cover his tracks, he said.The boy’s skull was found about 5 miles from the dump site. Redwine likely wanted to further hide the skull because it showed the most evidence of foul play, Dougherty told jurors.Dylan’s out-of-character halted use of social media and unanswered text messages beginning the night of Nov. 18 suggests the boy was killed that evening, Dougherty said.“Because of what the defendant did, this world will never know Dylan Redwine beyond that day,” Dougherty said. “We'll never know the impact that he would have had on this world today, his high school years, college, a future family of his own. All those things were robbed.”Defense attorneys recognized the strained relationship between Dylan and his father but told jurors that doesn’t add up to homicide. Dylan likely went on a walk early Nov. 19 and was attacked by a wild animal, Bogan said.“You want your son in your life, you want a relationship with them,” Bogan said. “You don't kill them hours after they arrive to come to visit.”Bogan pointed to the lack of hard evidence in the case. There are still several unknowns, and that shouldn’t be taken lightly, Bogan said.0VideoYouTube480360There is no evidence of cleanup, no evidence of a physical fight and minuscule blood evidence at Redwine’s home, he said. Cadaver dogs signaling to the odor of human remains at the house is not reliable enough, either, Bogan said.Before evidence was found, Bogan said investigators were “trying to catch” Redwine by setting up cameras, tracking his car and giving scientists police reports.“We’ve got a biased perception of evidence here,” Bogan told jurors.But Dougherty argued the case was investigated and mulled over for years.“This is no rush to judgment,” Dougherty said.Bogan said sordid pictures of Mark Redwine dressed in woman’s underwear eating feces out of a diaper were introduced to misdirect the jury. He told jurors the photos serve more to breed hatred toward the defendant rather than serving as a motive for the boy’s death, as prosecutors claim.“The prosecution likes these pictures a lot more than they like the tangible and scientific evidence in this case,” Bogan told the jurors. “They like those pictures more than they like the fact that there’s uncontested damage by animals of the remains. The marks on the cranium are consistent with animal damage. They like those pictures better than the fact that the DNA evidence is contradictory and underwhelming.”Bogan said jurors should view the pictures only for the sole purpose of determining whether they support the prosecution’s thesis of the case, not to unfairly taint Mark Redwine as a bad person.“Do not get washed downstream by the photos,” he told jurors. “Do not get washed downstream. Say: ‘Well, a person who engaged in this sort of conduct is probably a freak, a freaky bad person. And because they are kind of a freaky bad person, they probably would be the sort of person to kill their youngest son if they fought for him, to get custody of him, after a really bad divorce for five years.’ You can’t do that. You look at them like: Does this motive make sense. Does it help me understand what they’re saying motive is?”13001377Mark Redwine enters the courtroom after a break in closing arguments Thursday in Durango. Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.Dougherty described the difference between first-degree and second-degree murder. First-degree murder, he said, is when someone acts intentionally, like when a couple have an altercation and one waits for the other to come home and shoots that person with a handgun. Second-degree murder, he said, occurs when someone acts knowingly, like when a couple are arguing in the kitchen and one person becomes upset with the other and hits her on the head with a frying pan.He asked jurors to recall testimony from Brandon Redwine, Mark’s son from a previous marriage, who said the day Dylan’s remains were found, Mark commented about how law enforcement won’t know whether blunt force trauma was involved without the skull. The statement was so out of left field that Brandon contacted law enforcement that day, Dougherty said.Elaine Hall, mother of Dylan Redwine, wears a "Justice for Dylan" wristband Thursday during closing arguments in the trial for Mark Redwine. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11431600Cory Redwine, brother of Dylan Redwine, is comforted by his wife during closing arguments Thursday in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10401600Prosecutor Michael Dougherty makes his closing argument Thursday in 6th Judicial District Court in Durango during the trial for Mark Redwine. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11831600Public defender Justin Bogan finishes his closing argument Thursday in Durango. His client, Mark Redwine, right, and fellow public defender John Moran listen to the remarks. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10791574Dylan Redwine and his father Mark Redwine were seen on video surveillance Nov. 18, 2012, in the Durango Walmart. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald917950Cory Redwine, brother to Dylan Redwine, leaves the courtroom Thursday during a break in closing arguments at the La Plata County Courthouse. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald13071300Mike Hall comforts his wife Elaine Hall, mother of Dylan Redwine, during closing arguments Thursday in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald8551600Pictures of Dylan Redwine shown Thursday during closing arguments in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1158950Mark Redwine enters the courtroom Thursday during closing arguments. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald13771300Mike Hall, stepfather to Dylan Redwine, wipes away tears during closing arguments Thursday in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1263950Prosecutor Michael Dougherty showed jurors Dylan Redwine’s fishing pole Thursday during closing arguments in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald1386950The courtroom stands as they wait for jurors during closing arguments Thursday in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald10391600Public defender Justin Bogan makes his closing argument Thursday in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald9411600Elaine Hall, center, leaves the courtroom during a break in closing arguments Thursday in Durango. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11861600Prosecutor Michael Dougherty makes his closing argument Thursday in Durango during the trial for Mark Redwine. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald11411600Jeffrey R. Wilson, chief judge of the 6th Judicial District, listens to closing arguments Thursday. Photo by Jerry McBride/Durango Herald 13471600The prosecution noted Redwine didn’t mourn as a typical father would. Redwine appeared laid back when Dylan vanished and threw away pictures of his son in August 2016. While Dylan was still missing, Redwine transferred the money in Dylan’s bank account to his personal account, Dougherty said.“He got rid of everything that could tie Dylan to him, tie the body to him – except the debit card. The debit card could potentially have value for him,” Dougherty said.Outside the courtroom, most family members declined to comment about the trial.The only observation came from Cory Redwine, who said, “It’s been difficult to go through all this again.”Herald Staff Writers Shane Benjamin and Patrick Armijo contributed to this report. Kaela Roeder is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a 2021 graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.16001186Elaine Hall, center, leaves the courtroom during a break in closing arguments Thursday in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)
Prosecutors ask jurors to use common sense; defense team focuses on reasonable doubt
Defense team rests case; Mark Redwine declines to testify‘We're in the homestretch,’ judge says13871165Mark Redwine listens to Richard Eikelenboom, a forensic scientist, as he testifies Tuesday at Redwine’s homicide trial in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)The defense team for Mark Redwine rested its case Wednesday after presenting several days of testimony from expert witnesses, co-workers, investigators and former acquaintances.Redwine, who is accused of killing his son, Dylan, also announced he will not take the witness stand in his own defense.“I have decided I will not testify,” Redwine told the court in Durango after a short conversation with his attorneys.0VideoYouTube480360Chief District Judge Jeffrey Wilson advised Redwine of his rights and will advise jurors that Redwine’s decision not to testify cannot be used against him and does not infer guilt.Rebuttal witnesses put on by prosecutors concluded Wednesday and closing arguments are expected to begin as soon as Thursday morning after instructions are read to the jury.“We're in the homestretch,” Wilson announced.Earlier Wednesday, a previous coworker and an old friend of Redwine’s, Freddy Cracium, testified that Dylan was Redwine’s “pride and joy.”Cracium told jurors he saw Redwine looking at pictures of Dylan playing baseball on his phone after work one day in 2012, and he appeared to be “so happy.”After Dylan disappeared in November 2012, Redwine changed, Cracium said.“I see a man that I didn't know anymore,” he said. “He didn't look the same. He didn’t talk to me ... he was scared.”Redwine gave Cracium flyers identifying Dylan as a missing person, and Cracium said he placed two on his own car and handed out others to friends. But over time, the two lost touch.During cross-examination by the prosecution, it was learned that Carcium never met Dylan and had never been to Redwine’s home in Vallecito. Carcium almost rented Redwine’s home and purchased one of his trucks, but backed out because of vandalism on the property and harassment Redwine was experiencing.On Tuesday, a local postal worker in the area testified that she may have seen Dylan with another boy the day he went missing. But during rebuttal testimony, it was revealed the mail carrier, Angela Lee, likely saw Jaquelin George and a boy from the neighborhood who resembled Dylan.George testified Wednesday that Crawford and Dylan looked very similar, and George was perceived as a tomboy when she was a child.Kaela Roeder is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a 2021 graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.
‘We're in the homestretch,’ judge says
Little evidence of significant bloodletting in Redwine’s living room, defense expert saysMail carrier unsure if she saw Dylan morning of disappearance1280720The inside of Mark Redwine's living room as photographed by investigators after Dylan Redwine's disappearance. A defense expert testified Tuesday that there was no sign of a significant bloodletting event in the living room. (Courtesy of 6th Judicial District Court)Mark Redwine’s living room did not show evidence of a major bloodletting event after chemical testing and analysis at the home, a forensic scientist told jurors Tuesday.Richard Eikelenboom said the often-used chemical agent luminol detects traces of blood at crime scenes not perceivable to the naked eye, including after a suspect attempts to clean the scene. The chemical reacts to certain compounds in substances, like iron in blood, and creates a blue glow.But he told the jury luminol is not an entirely reliable tool because other substances, like bleach, can give off fluorescence.“I think every crime scene you go to, you will find false positives,” Eikelenboom said.16001118Richard Eikelenboom, a forensic scientist, looks over evidence as he testifies Tuesday during the trial for Mark Redwine in Durango. Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)But prosecutor Fred Johnson pointed out that further tests were completed to confirm the presence of blood at Redwine’s Vallecito home, and each sample came back positive.Traces of blood were found in several locations of the living room, including on a couch cushion, love seat cushion, floor underneath a rug, rug in front of a loveseat and a coffee table. But most of those locations created small points of illumination using luminol, some as small as a dime. Those could have been the result of getting a small cut, flossing or picking a scab, Eikelenboom said.0VideoYouTube480360The traces do not suggest a major bloodletting event, such as what might be expected after blunt force trauma, Eikelenboom said.Earlier testimony from expert witnesses concluded Redwine’s son, Dylan Redwine, endured blunt force trauma based on fractures on the boy’s skull at or near the time of death.Karen Alexander, Redwine’s former girlfriend, told jurors Monday that Dylan accidentally cut his finger while cooking dinner over Labor Day weekend in 2011. Some blood dripped in the living room, Alexander said, where trace elements were found.13871165Mark Redwine listens to Richard Eikelenboom, a forensic scientist, as he testifies Tuesday during his trial at the La Plata County Courthouse. Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his 13-year-old son. Prosecutors say Redwine killed his son in a fit of rage after Dylan confronted him about sordid photos.Defense attorneys say it is possible Dylan was attacked and killed by wildlife in the rugged mountains surrounding the father’s home north of Vallecito Reservoir, 21 miles northeast of Durango.Witness testimony and closing arguments are expected to conclude this week, and jurors could begin deliberations as soon as Thursday or Friday.16001052Mark Redwine, left, and his defense team listen to Richard Eikelenboom, a forensic scientist, testify Tuesday in Durango. Mark Redwine is suspected of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Eikelenboom showed the court images of previous crime scenes he has analyzed, including a case of homicide by blunt force trauma in which large bloodstains were found after using luminol at the scene.But Eikelenboom acknowledged it is possible a violent event occurred in Redwine’s living room, even though the scene did not appear to be bloody.“Some violence, you don’t have much bloodletting,” Eikelenboom said.If cleanup of blood is attempted, it is nearly impossible to remove all traces, he said.Cleanup also differs by the surface. Smooth surfaces, like a hard floor or table, are easier to clean. But other surfaces like carpet are more difficult, he said.Small illuminations can show up even in a home where no murder or significant bloodletting occurred, he said. The application of luminol can also disturb evidence, like blood, because of the soluble nature of both elements, Eikelenboom said.0VideoYouTube480360During cross-examination, Johnson noted Eikelenboom has little experience in fresh crime scenes in the last 15 years.Eikelenboom and his wife, Selma Eikelenboom, own Independent Forensic Services, a private laboratory specializing in bloodstain analysis, crime scene reconstruction and DNA. The lab previously worked on prominent cases, including those involving Casey Anthony, Aaron Hernandez and JonBenet Ramsey.16001092Jeffrey R. Wilson, chief judge of the 6th Judicial District, listens to prosecutor Fred Johnson cross examine Richard Eikelenboom, a forensic scientist, on Tuesday at the La Plata County Courthouse. Mark Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Johnson quizzed Eikelenboom about certain details of the Redwine case, including when Dylan went missing, when his remains were found and how often Dylan visited his father in Vallecito. Eikelenboom was unable to answer any of the questions, among others.“So you have an opinion as to whether his blood may be in the living room naturally, inadvertently, and you don't know how many days he's been in that house?” Johnson asked.“It would be relevant, I think,” Eikelenboom responded.16001165Angela Lee, with the U.S. Postal Service, said Tuesday she isn’t sure if she saw Dylan Redwine walking the morning of Nov. 19, 2012, the day the 13-year-old boy was reported missing. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Did postal worker see Dylan?Angela Lee, a longtime postal worker in the Vallecito area, testified Tuesday she saw two boys walking near Vallecito Reservoir about 10 a.m. Nov. 19 – the day Dylan went missing.She said she was about 50% sure it was Dylan, but at other times during her testimony she said she couldn’t be sure at all.“The boy kind of reminded me of Dylan,” Lee said. “I couldn't be, you know, for sure, because I just barely glanced at them.”0VideoYouTube480360If Lee did see Dylan, it would cast doubt on the prosecution’s timeline, suggesting the boy was alive after Redwine left the house to run errands. It would also suggest Dylan met up with a friend to go somewhere on his own volition.Lee said she saw Dylan sporadically on her route when the boy was in town visiting.Lee’s coworker heard her talking about the possible sighting and notified law enforcement. Lee didn’t call law enforcement herself because she was unsure if one of the boys was really Dylan, she said.“I was never sure, ever,” Lee said.Kaela Roeder is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a 2021 graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.
Mail carrier unsure if she saw Dylan morning of disappearance
Redwine’s former girlfriend: ‘I don't believe he did it’Animal behaviorist questions reliability of cadaver dogs16001061Mark Redwine stands as the jury leaves the courtroom on Friday during his homicide trial in Durango. Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse causing the death of his son, Dylan. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Mark Redwine’s former girlfriend told jurors Monday that he was an “attentive” parent to his son Dylan in the year leading up to the 13-year-old’s disappearance.“He loved Dylan very much,” Karen Alexander testified. “Talked about him all the time.”Redwine and Alexander met when Redwine was working a foreman job for United Pipeline Systems in her hometown of Bakersfield, California. She visited Redwine at his Vallecito home during Labor Day weekend in 2011 along with Dylan. The three spent time going to the mall, hiking and practicing shooting guns, Alexander said.Her testimony comes at the beginning of the fourth week of the trial in Durango, where Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of Dylan. The boy was reported missing Nov. 19, 2012, and the first remains of the boy were found in June 2013 in a rugged, mountainous area northeast of Redwine’s home near Vallecito Reservoir.Redwine has pleaded not guilty.The relationship between Alexander and Redwine lasted about six months and the two have not been romantically involved since then, she testified. But they still texted and were in contact with each other when Dylan disappeared and when his remains were found, she said. Eventually, they stopped talking altogether, she said.Redwine was “clearly upset” in June 2013 when Dylan’s remains were discovered, Alexander said. But he isn’t the type to show a lot of outward emotion, she told jurors.Alexander joined Redwine on the “Dr. Phil” show in May 2013 where Elaine Hall, Dylan’s mother, accused Redwine of playing a part in Dylan’s disappearance. Alexander went on the show to advocate for Redwine’s innocence, she said.“I don't believe he did it,” she testified.0VideoYouTube480360When cooking dinner one night over Labor Day weekend in 2011, Dylan cut his finger by accident, Alexander said. Dylan was bleeding, and Redwine used a paper towel and a bandage to stop the bleeding.Some blood dripped onto the floor in the living room, Alexander said. DNA experts previously testified about blood found in the living room, which the defense previously claimed could be the result of the normal activities of a 13-year-old boy.During cross-examination, it was revealed Alexander did not mention the bleeding until this week. She was interviewed by the FBI in 2012 and 2013 and mentioned other details of her trip, she said.“I didn't know it was that important, I really didn't,” Alexander said.Earlier in the day, animal behaviorist James Ha returned to the witness stand, albeit via video link, to finish his testimony from Friday in which he argued cadaver dogs are prone to false positives.Ha, a defense witness, faced challenges from prosecutors about his level of expertise in human remains detection dogs. 6th Judicial District Judge Jeffrey Wilson ultimately granted Ha expert witness status in zoology, animal sensing and animal behavior.Ha, who is a research professor at the University of Washington, told jurors Monday morning that detections by cadaver dogs are “not reliable” if no additional evidence of actual remains is found. He explained even highly trained detection dogs are susceptible to error, and issues can arise because of the weather, hunger, age and level of exhaustion.“We can’t get inside their brain; we don't know what they're thinking,” Ha said.3168VideoYouTube480360Because of this, Ha suspects several false positives of human remains were made by Molly, Carren Gummin’s cadaver dog, in the Redwine investigation.Gummin and Molly traveled to Durango in August 2013 and February 2014 to assist in the investigation of Dylan’s death. Gummin worked as a police officer in Madison, Wisconsin, for nearly 30 years before retiring and founded her business Canine Search Solutions in 2005, a network of cadaver and trailing dogs that help law enforcement find missing people.Molly alerted to several areas inside and outside Redwine’s home, his truck and his clothing. Molly also detected an odor of human remains at 12 locations near Middle Mountain Road. But remains were found in none of the exact areas, which suggests a false positive, Ha said.Dylan’s shoe, sock and other items were found just north of the service gate that blocks Middle Mountain Road, in the general area where Molly alerted to the odor of human remains.Dogs can give false positives as part of a desire to please their handlers, Ha said. During Molly’s search of Redwine’s home, investigators waited at the threshold of the door as Molly searched, which could have influenced her to indicate odor that wasn’t present, Ha said.In addition, if a nail clipping, strand of hair or blood residue were found in an area, that would register as an odor of human remains to the dog, despite whether an actual cadaver or remains were present, he said.“It’s all decomposition, and they're trained on a variety of different kinds of decomposition,” Ha testified.0VideoYouTube480360Ha said physical evidence leaves chemical compounds for up to 48 hours after being removed. Molly searched Redwine’s residence, truck and clothing months after Dylan’s disappearance.But on cross-examination by the prosecution, Ha could not cite a professional source validating that no residual odors can be detected after 48 hours of human remains being removed.“There are no studies on residual odor, this is my educated opinion,” Ha said.Ha did not observe Gummin’s work on the Redwine case and is not aware of Molly’s training, he testified.Ha acknowledged Gummin and Molly were a “higher-quality team” than he realized when first submitting his opinion for the court in June 2019, and he agreed detection dogs are a useful tool in investigations.Redwine appeared ‘normal’ morning of son’s disappearanceRichard Swayze, an equipment manager with United Pipeline Systems, said he spoke with Redwine on Nov. 19, the day his child went missing, at the company’s Durango office. Redwine looked sober and “normal” Swayze said. The two spoke for about an hour early that morning.“He was happier than I’d ever seen him,” Swayze said.The interaction was “strange,” Swayze testified. They had never spoken for that extended period of time and did not know each other outside of work.Previously, Sean Borris, a project manager at United Pipeline Systems, said Redwine looked “haggard” and “out of sorts” on the same day.Kaela Roeder is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a 2021 graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.
Animal behaviorist questions reliability of cadaver dogs
Defense expert offers differing views about skull wounds in Redwine caseProsecutors challenge two witnesses on level of expertise, reliability16001245Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist, uses a cast model of a skull to describe how animals can leave marks while scavenging as he testifies Friday during the trial for Mark Redwine, who is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan Redwine. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)On the first day of direct questioning by the defense team in the trial for Mark Redwine, a forensic anthropologist presented a radically different assessment of Dylan Redwine’s remains than previous expert witnesses.Contrary to past testimony brought forward by the prosecution, forensic anthropologist Bruce Anderson said a puncture mark on the zygomatic arch, which forms the cheek area of the skull, could have been caused by a wild animal close to the time of death or months after death.Anderson also said the skull fracture previously deemed a result of blunt force trauma could have happened “days or weeks” after death. A coyote could have caused the damage, as well, Anderson told jurors.The testimony comes after prosecutors presented nearly three weeks of testimony from family, expert witnesses and wildlife specialists.Forensic anthropologist Diane France and forensic pathologist Robert Kurtzman previously said the mark on the zygomatic arch was most likely caused by a sharp tool, not from animal activity.Previous experts told jurors that animal marks appear as U-shaped on bones, while tools or sharp objects appear as V-shaped. Anderson told the court that’s not always the case. For example, the sharp incisors of a coyote or a claw can create a V-shape on the bone, he said.“There’s going to be some gray area,” Anderson testified. The marks on Dylan’s skull appeared blunt, not sharp, he said.But Anderson said he couldn’t determine, without a doubt, that a tool didn’t cause the puncture mark on the zygomatic arch.16001155Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist, testifies about the marks on Dylan Redwine’s skull Friday during the trial for Mark Redwine. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)Redwine is charged with second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his son, Dylan.Defense attorneys argue it’s possible Redwine’s 13-year-old son was attacked and killed by a bear or mountain lion in the mountains surrounding the father’s home north of Vallecito Reservoir, 21 miles northeast of Durango.Redwine has pleaded not guilty.16001110Mark Redwine listens to Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist, as he testifies Friday during Redwine’s homicide trial. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)In the cross-examination, Anderson said he used an eight-power magnifying glass to assess the remains. But usually, in his lab, he uses a 40-power magnifying glass or a 100-power dissection microscope. Anderson told jurors the magnification used was “enough.”Some of Dylan’s finger and toe bones were found in animal feces, which suggests a coyote consumed the remains, Anderson said.Some of Dylan’s remains and belongings were found in June 2013, months after the boy first went missing in November 2012. Dylan’s skull was later found in November 2015 by off-trail hikers more than 5 miles from the site of the initial remains.Anderson testified the longer a body remains in the wilderness, the more likely it is for remains to become separated.“The more likely critters will get to it, and the more likely different bones will be separated from one another,” he told the court.But Anderson’s experience in forensic anthropology is in desert regions, not mountainous and rugged terrain. When asked by the prosecution if he is familiar with the area, Anderson replied: “I am not.”When asked by the prosecution if Dylan’s shoe and sock were consistent with animal scavenging, Anderson refused to answer.“I'm not gonna do that, counselor; I'm not an expert in this,” he said.0VideoYouTube480360After a back-and-forth between the defense, prosecution and 6th Judicial District Judge Jeffrey Wilson, Anderson was told to answer the question. He told the court the sock appeared intact with no evidence of animal scavenging.Jerry Apker, a now-retired carnivore biologist with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, told jurors that bears, mountain lions and coyotes don’t move food far from where it was initially found. This is because energy conservation is key, he said.“You never know when you're going to get your next meal when you're a wild animal,” Apker testified.Apker said “it’s possible” for a coyote to carry bones and skeletal remains over a mile, but it’s not typical behavior.“Is it normal for coyotes to carry a bone a long distance? No, it’s not really normal. But is it possible? Certainly is possible, but I can’t give you probabilities or anything like that,” he said.Before Anderson and Apker took the stand, the defense team hit a roadblock Friday morning when attempting to call a DNA expert witness to testify.The defense planned to call Phillip Danielson, a previous consultant to National Medical Services, but faced resistance from the prosecution because of issues during a 2015 court hearing in Texas that deemed Danielson didn’t practice DNA analysis in accordance with accepted practices.The hearing, which focused on inaccurate testing of DNA and misinterpretation of results, The hearing, which was focused on inaccurate testing of DNA and misinterpretation of results in a sexual assault case in Washington, D.C., “significantly undermined” Danielson’s credibility, according to the report by the Texas Forensic Science Commission.Danielson did not cite peer-reviewed journals or texts in the 2015 proceedings and inaccurately presented DNA concepts.“I am not happy to have this just before he testifies, because it is unfair to the court,” Judge Wilson said. “It’s just inviting error; it’s something that should have been litigated beforehand.”16001129Jeffrey R. Wilson, chief judge of the 6th Judicial District, asks a public defender to hold his question to himself as Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist, testifies Friday during the trial for Mark Redwine. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)The defense faced more opposition when animal behaviorist James Ha with the University of Washington took the stand. The prosecution says reports and background on Ha’s expertise were never received.Public Defender John Moran attempted to qualify Ha as an expert in zoology, animal behavior, animal sensing and human remains detection, which was objected to by the prosecution.The central issue was Ha’s unclear background in dog handling, which prosecutor Fred Johnson says he was unaware of until Moran began questioning.“All of these things that are coming up are new, and I asked in advance so Mr. Moran could be organized and could provide those materials so we weren’t in the situation we’re in right now,” Johnson told Wilson. “Instead, he chose a different path.”Mark Redwine stands as the jury leaves the courtroom Friday during his trial in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)10611600Public defender Justin Bogan asks Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist, a question as Anderson testifies Friday during the trial for Mark Redwine. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11341600Mark Redwine stands as the jury enters the courtroom Friday during his trial in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11901600Bruce Anderson, a forensic anthropologist, uses a cast skull unrelated to the Mark Redwine case to describe how animals can leave marks when they are scavenging. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11511600Mark Redwine looks over a document Friday during his trial in Durango. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)11191600Johnson questioned Ha about his experience related to dog handling and objected to Ha’s testimony as an expert witness in the field. Wilson allowed Ha to testify about animal behavior and the technicalities behind human remains detection, narcotics and trailing.Ha has never been a dog handler, handled a dog in a search and rescue scenario, trained a human remains detection dog, certified a dog in detection or conducted research on dog handling. But Ha “trained the trainers,” or dog handlers themselves, in the underlying biology of dogs.He also helps reduce the rates of “false-positive” responses from dogs, which is when dogs signify a smell of remains when there is no odor or presence of a body. This can happen as a result of subconscious cueing to the dog, Ha said.0VideoYouTube480360Scent lineup, or comparing scents in a small location, is difficult, Ha said. On Thursday, dog handler Rae Randolph testified about an experiment with her dog, Sayla, in 2012 using a scent lineup on items belonging to Dylan.At the time, some law-enforcement officials believed a pillowcase provided by Redwine didn’t have Dylan’s scent because several dogs had no luck picking up a trail of where the boy may have gone.“The scent lineup is a very different cognitive test,” Ha said. “The scent lineup requires a very different kind of training.”Randolph set up evidence in a grid-like fashion, and when Sayla was given Dylan’s scent from a separate, known object, she was able to pick up Dylan’s scent and identify additional known items. When Sayla was given just the pillowcase, she was unable to identify items with Dylan’s scent.Kaela Roeder is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez and a 2021 graduate of American University in Washington, D.C.
Prosecutors challenge two witnesses on level of expertise, reliability