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Phillip retrial underway in Kent for Frankel murder

William Phillip Jr. faces a retrial for the 2010 stabbing death of Seth Frankel in Auburn. Frankel was a city of Kent employee. - Kent Reporter, file photo
William Phillip Jr. faces a retrial for the 2010 stabbing death of Seth Frankel in Auburn. Frankel was a city of Kent employee.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The retrial of William L. Phillip Jr. for the 2010 killing of Seth Frankel, a former city of Kent employee and Auburn resident, started on Monday in Kent with pre-trial motions.

King County Superior Court jurors in December were unable to reach an unanimous verdict after a six-week trial, so the process starts all over this week. Pretrial motions are expected to take a couple of days followed by jury selection and then opening statements.

"Opening statements would occur next Monday at the earliest," according to an email from Dan Donohoe, spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

The retrial could last four weeks or longer.

County prosecutors charged Phillip, 33, with first-degree murder for the stabbing death of Frankel at his Auburn home. Prosecutors claim Frankel and Phillip were in love with the same woman and that Phillip traveled to Auburn from Oregon to kill Frankel so he could have Bonny Johnson to himself.

Defense attorney Anuradha Luthra in her closing argument at the first trial said that the state had "the wrong person." She said there was no witness who could put Phillip in Frankel's house the night of his death and no witness who could give a reason why Phillip would kill Frankel.

Frankel, 41, worked as a video program coordinator for the city of Kent and was the father of two young girls. Phillip remains in custody at the county jail at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent.

Judge Andrea Darvas declared a mistrial Dec. 18 after the 12 jurors deliberated for one and a half days. Darvas also will oversee the retrial.

The defense team includes Luthra and Kristen Murray. The prosecutors are Senior Deputy Prosecutor Wyman Yip and Deputy Prosectuor Patrick Hinds.

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