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Phillip murder trial in Kent could last until mid-December

Seth Frankel worked as a city of Kent video program coordinator. - Kent Reporter, file photo
Seth Frankel worked as a city of Kent video program coordinator.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The first-degree murder trial of William L. Phillip in Kent for the stabbing death of Seth Frankel could last until at least mid-December.

Opening statements were Oct. 28 and the first state witness took the stand the same day at King County Superior Court at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

King County prosecutors allege that Phillip, 33, of Portland, Ore., killed Frankel, 41, a city of Kent employee, on May 21, 2010 in the Auburn home Frankel shared with Bonny Johnson, a former girlfriend of Phillip. Prosecutors say Phillip became angry with Frankel's relationship with Johnson and drove to Auburn to kill Frankel.

"It should finish by mid-December," said Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office, in an email about the trial length.

The trial is not in session this week because one of the prosecutors is sick. Judge Andrea Darvas then will be out for more than a week, Donohoe said. The trial is scheduled to resume on Nov. 18.

If convicted as charged, Phillip faces a prison sentence of 20 to 26 years. He pleaded not guilty to the charge in March 2011 after his arrest by Auburn Police in December 2010 in Portland.

Defense attorneys claim Phillip traveled to Auburn in May 2010 because he likes to takes drives to deal with stress and he had a close family member pass away shortly before that date. Defense attorneys said Phillip had nothing against Frankel.

Prosectors claim a bloody towel with the DNA of Phillip as well as cellphone records that put him near Frankel's home in Auburn point to Phillip as the killer. Prosecutors are expected to call more than 50 witnesses to the stand, including police officers, scientists, as well as friends and family of Frankel and Phillip.

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