Mark Redwine, the Vallecito father who was found guilty this summer of killing his 13-year-old son, Dylan, was sentenced Friday to 48 years in prison.
“I have trouble remembering a convicted criminal defendant that has shown such an utter lack of remorse for his criminal behavior,” said 6th Judicial District Court Judge Jeffery Wilson, in handing down the maximum penalty.
Redwine, wearing an orange, jail-issued jumpsuit, declined to speak; his attorneys said he plans to appeal.
But in a pre-sentence investigation, which looks into the legal and social background of convicted criminals and gives them a chance to weigh in, Redwine wrote a few terse words while maintaining his innocence. Judge Wilson read those comments into the record Friday.
“Innocent of all charges. Miscarriage of justice. Fake conviction. Sham trial,” Redwine wrote. “... I take this circumstance very seriously and want to make clear that I too have lost a child I love more than life itself. I will fight for true justice, not for myself but for Dylan. I have always shown remorse for the things that I am guilty of. Stand against fake justice.”
Elaine Hall, Dylan’s mother, said she she is pleased with Friday’s outcome.
“It’s justice as far as justice can go,“ she said. “... There will never be enough time for taking Dylan’s life, but at least he hopefully won’t get out. Hopefully he’ll die in prison.”
Redwine, 60, was facing 16 to 48 years in prison after a 12-person jury found him guilty July 16 of second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
Prosecutors asked the court to sentence Redwine to the full 48 years, citing several aggravating circumstances, including that Redwine killed his own son, misled law enforcement and has shown no remorse.
“He stands before you refusing to accept responsibility, showing no remorse, reflecting that same cold-hearted murderer’s heart that killed Dylan Redwine,” said District Attorney Christian Champagne. “Your honor, that’s the ultimate aggravating factor that you should consider. And that alone will justify imposition of the maximum sentence in this case – 48 years for both counts.”
In addressing Redwine, Wilson said the evidence against him is “overwhelming.”
“First of all, you killed your son, a 13-year-old boy. At 13, he’s still a little boy,” Wilson said. “As the father, it’s your obligation to protect your son, keep him from harm. Instead of that, you inflicted enough injury on him to kill him in your living room.
“After the passion of whatever caused you to act the way you did subsided, you didn’t think about Dylan. You thought about yourself, you sanitized the crime scene, you hid Dylan’s body and you went so far as to remove his head from the rest of his body.”
Wilson said Redwine’s efforts to conceal Dylan’s body and lie about what happened caused suffering for Dylan’s family and the entire community. His actions deprived Dylan the opportunity to grow up, fall in love, get married and have children, the judge said.
In handing down the maximum penalty, Wilson said Redwine takes “absolutely no responsibly” for what he did to Dylan and needs to be removed from society for “a long period of time.”
Public defense lawyer John Moran made several legal arguments, some that will likely show up in a future appeal. He also asked that certain statements and findings be stricken from the pre-sentence investigation.
“Mr. Redwine loved Dylan with all his heart,” Moran said. “The depth of grief Dylan’s loved ones have experienced may never leave a high-water mark. ... Mr. Redwine is eager for fair and impartial review by a higher court. He is appealing and wishes to make no further record here.”
The sentencing hearing caps a nearly nine-year homicide investigation that began in November 2012, when Dylan disappeared while on a court-ordered visit to see his father.
Prosecutors surmised that Redwine flew into a fit of rage and murdered his son after the boy confronted him about compromising photos.
Defense lawyers said Dylan was alive the morning of Nov. 19, 2012 – the day he went missing. His father ran errands in town, and when he returned he found the boy missing – a bowl of cereal on the table and the television turned to Nickelodeon.
They suggested a stranger may have harmed Dylan, or that wildlife attacked him while he was out walking.
Text messages sent by Dylan to friends and family indicate the boy didn’t want to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with his father. Their relationship had soured in recent months, especially after Dylan found photos of his father wearing women’s lingerie while eating what appeared to be feces from a diaper, according to testimony presented during the five-week trial.
Dylan’s disappearance set off a massive search in the rugged mountains north of Redwine’s home in Southwest Colorado. In the months that followed, community members and law enforcement organized multiple searches, combing the woods for clues.
Law enforcement executed several search warrants on Redwine’s home. Forensic testing found traces of Dylan’s blood in his father’s living room, and a cadaver dog detected the recent presence of a corpse in the living room and in the bed of Redwine’s pickup truck.
It wasn’t until June 2013 when the first partial remains of Dylan’s body were found about 8 miles up Middle Mountain Road, only a few miles northeast of Redwine’s home, as the crow flies.
In November 2015, a pair of hikers found Dylan’s skull about 1½ miles farther up the road. Forensic experts testified the skull had what appeared to be knife markings, and wildlife experts said no animal inhabiting this area would have transported a skull that far from the other remains.
As the case wore on, it gained national and international attention, including segments on “Nancy Grace,” and “Investigation Discovery.” Elaine, Cory and Mark appeared on a two-part episode of the “Dr. Phil” show, which ended with Redwine refusing to take a lie detector test. (At least five television news channels were in town for Friday’s sentencing hearing.)
Law enforcement received numerous “tips” from psychics who claimed to know where Dylan’s remains could be found, and as a matter of due diligence, law enforcement had to follow up on many of them.
The case was largely based on circumstantial evidence. As such, prosecutors decided to convene a grand jury to decide whether there was enough evidence to issue an indictment.
The La Plata County grand jury issued its indictment in July 2017, and Redwine, a truck driver, was arrested two days later in Bellingham, Washington.
The judicial process was fraught with delays, especially as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused at least three significant delays.
But after a five-week trial, which included dozens of witnesses, hundreds of pieces of evidence and volumes of discovery, jurors found Redwine guilty on both counts outlined in the indictment.