Phillip's trial date continued to Sept. 16 for murder of Kent city employee

William Phillip. - Kent Reporter, file photo
William Phillip.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

It's been three years since the stabbing death of Seth Frankel, a city of Kent employee and Auburn resident.

The trial of William L. Phillip, 32, charged with first-degree murder for the death of Frankel on May 21, 2010, was scheduled to start May 6. But the trial date has been continued to Sept. 16, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Defense attorney Kristen Murray asked for the continuance because of, "outstanding witness interviews and investigation," according to court documents. King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas granted the request.

Defense attorneys have been granted several requests from King County Superior Court judges to continue the trial date. 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. A status hearing is scheduled for July 12.

Phillip, 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.

Attorneys from both sides asked for more time to prepare the case after an initial trial date of June 20, 2012. According to court documents, the jury trial could last six weeks.

Frankel, 41, a city video-program coordinator, was killed 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 told detectives that 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 and knew where he lived.

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


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