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Phillip murder trial date continued to Oct. 28 for stabbing of Kent city employee

William Phillip faces a murder trial Oct. 28 in Kent for the stabbing death of Seth Frankel, a city of Kent employee and Auburn resident. - Kent Reporter, file photo
William Phillip faces a murder trial Oct. 28 in Kent for the stabbing death of Seth Frankel, a city of Kent employee and Auburn resident.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The murder trial for the Oregon man charged with first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Seth Frankel, a city of Kent employee and Auburn resident, could last six weeks.

The trial was scheduled to start Wednesday, June 20.

But with so many pre-trial motions by defense attorneys for additional discovery requests for materials held by the state, additional witness interviews and scheduling conflicts, King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus agreed last month with attorneys from both sides to continue the trial date for William L. Phillip to Oct. 28.

"It was continued with a specific case schedule for the attorneys on both sides to follow," said Ian Goodhew, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. "The continuance was at the request of both parties."

Phillip, 31, of Portland, remains in custody at the county jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent with bail set at $1 million. He pleaded not guilty in March 2011 to a first-degree murder charge after being extradited from Portland.

Frankel, 41, a city video-program coordinator, was killed May 21, 2010 in his Auburn home. He was discovered the following day by a neighbor who was checking on his welfare, looked through a window, and saw the body.

Prosecutors allege that Phillip, a former boyfriend of the woman Frankel dated and lived with, 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 cellphone 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.

Auburn Police – with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service – arrested Phillip in December 2010 in Portland in connection with Frankel's death.

At a court hearing in May, Judge Andrus ordered a specific court schedule for deputy prosecuting attorney Wyman Yip and defense attorney Kristen Murray.

According to court documents, the jury trial could last six weeks; Phillip has waived his right to a speedy trial; both sides have until Sept. 28 to complete all fact witness interviews; and the state shall disclose the identity of any witnesses it tends to call by Oct. 5.

If needed, either side could also ask the court for more time to prepare the case and request a new trial date.

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