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Phillip awaits trial date for Auburn murder of Kent city employee Seth Frankel

William L. Phillip Jr., of Portland, Ore., pleaded not guilty March 21 in Kent to the first-degree murder of Seth Frankel. Phillip is scheduled to return to court Aug. 8 for a hearing.  - CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter
William L. Phillip Jr., of Portland, Ore., pleaded not guilty March 21 in Kent to the first-degree murder of Seth Frankel. Phillip is scheduled to return to court Aug. 8 for a hearing.
— image credit: CHARLES CORTES, Kent Reporter

A 30-year-old Oregon man is waiting for a trial date to be set on his first-degree murder charge in connection with the May 21, 2010 stabbing death in Auburn of Seth Frankel, a Kent city employee.

William L. Phillip Jr., 30, of Portland, is scheduled to return to court for a case-setting hearing Aug. 8 at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. A trial date could be set at the hearing or the case could be continued until a later date.

Phillip remains in custody at the county jail at the Regional Justice Center with bail set at $1 million. He pleaded not guilty March 21 to a first-degree murder charge.

Frankel was killed in his Auburn home. He was discovered the following day by a neighbor who was checking on his welfare, and who looked through a window, spotting the body.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Wyman Yip is handling the Phillip case. Yip's previous cases include the August 2010 conviction of three men charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death in April 2009 of a man in SeaTac.

Auburn Police – with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service – arrested Phillip Dec. 10 in Portland in connection with Frankel's death.

Prosecutors allege that Phillip, a former boyfriend of the woman Frankel dated, drove to Auburn to kill Frankel because he was angry that someone else was dating the woman. Detectives connected Phillip to the murder through a blood-stained towel found at Frankel’s house as well as cell-phone records that put Phillip near the home the night of Frankel's death.

Frankel's girlfriend tipped off detectives that Phillip could be the one who killed Frankel. She said Phillip wanted a romantic relationship with her and spoke badly about Frankel even though he had never met him, according to charging papers. Phillip had seen a photo of Frankel that the girlfriend had.

Phillip did not speak to detectives about the case except for a brief comment with Portland Police. Portland detectives went to Phillip's home to interview him for information about the investigation into Frankel's death. When detectives asked Phillip if he had ever been to Auburn, he told them he wanted to "exercise his right to counsel," according to charging papers.

Phillip was extradited March 10 to Washington from Oregon, where he was held in the Multnomah County Jail since his arrest. Phillip fought extradition, which delayed his return to Washington for three months. Because Phillip fought extradition, the governors from each state had to sign papers to allow the proceeding.

Frankel, 41, a video-program coordinator for the city of Kent, was killed in his Auburn home. He was discovered the following day by a neighbor who was checking on his welfare, and who looked through a window, spotting the body.

Frankel joined the city of Kent in 2007 after 11 years as a director of production at a PBS station in Eureka, Calif. He was the employee behind many of the city meetings and events shown on Kent TV21.

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