WENATCHEE — With a crucial DNA report still in progress, murder defendant Christopher Scott Wilson will stand trial beginning May 22 in the killing of 17-year-old Mackenzie Cowell.
The new date, set in a special hearing Wednesday in Chelan County Superior Court, supercedes a prior March 19 trial start. Cowell, a Wenatchee High School senior and hairstyling student, disappeared from downtown Wenatchee Feb. 9, 2010, and was found dead four days later at Crescent Bar.
The trial continuance — the fourth since Wilson was arrested and charged with murder in October 2010 — came at the request of Wilson’s lawyer John Henry Browne, who told Judge John Bridges that a report on DNA evidence commissioned by his office won’t be completed until March.
“We definitely want to try this case,” Browne said in court. “We’re not trying to delay.”
Chelan County Prosecutor Gary Riesen didn’t object to the continuance, although he noted that Cowell’s survivors are anxious to commence trial.
“I know the victim’s family wants to get the case done,” Riesen said. “This is something where they can’t move on with their lives until the case is tried.”
Wilson, 31, was a fellow student of Cowell’s at the Academy of Hair Design in downtown Wenatchee. He was charged with second-degree murder after his arrest, accused by the multi-agency police task force investigating the crime of murdering fellow hairstyling Cowell at his apartment Feb. 9. When her body was discovered, she had been strangled, bludgeoned in the head and stabbed in the neck.
The task force said Cowell’s blood was in the carpet of Wilson’s Wenatchee apartment, and a length of duct tape near her body contained her blood and genetic material matching Wilson’s paternal DNA type.
The charge against Wilson was increased last April to first-degree murder. Riesen cited the manner of Cowell’s death as evidence of premeditation, and said Wilson killed Cowell because he had a fascination with violent death. A conviction would carry a potential sentence range of 20 to 26 years in prison, up to a maximum of life.
Jefferson Robbins: 664-7123