Phillip's murder trial continued again in death of Kent city employee

William Phillip faces a Jan. 7 trial date for the murder of Seth Frankel in 2010. - Kent Reporter, file photo
William Phillip faces a Jan. 7 trial date for the murder of Seth Frankel in 2010.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The murder trial has been continued again for the Oregon man charged with first-degree murder for the 2010 stabbing death of Seth Frankel, a city of Kent employee and Auburn resident.

William L. Phillip had been scheduled to go to trial on Monday, Oct. 29. But King County Superior Court Judge Beth Andrus granted a request from Phillip and defense attorney Kristen Murray to continue the date to Jan. 7.

They requested the additional time because an investigator assigned to the case had to be replaced when he left his current position, according to court documents.

Phillip, 32, 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.

The trial had been scheduled for June 20, but Andrus in May pushed that date to Oct. 29 after she granted requests from attorneys from both sides for more time to prepare the case because of so many pre-trial motions by defense attorneys for additional discovery requests for materials held by the state, additional witness interviews and scheduling conflicts.

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 Frankelā€™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 ā€“ with the help of the U.S. Marshals Service ā€“ arrested Phillip in December 2010 in Portland in connection with Frankel's death.

According to court documents, the jury trial could last six weeks. Phillip has waived his right to a speedy trial.

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

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