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The Times' criminal justice team looks behind the scenes and behind the headlines.

March 7, 2011 at 5:58 AM

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Second trial to begin in '96 disappearance of Burien man

Posted by John de Leon

The second trial for a Texas man accused of killing a Burien man more than 15 years ago is scheduled to begin Monday afternoon at the King County Courthouse.

Myron's Wynn's first trial ended in a mistrial on Dec. 21 when jurors announced they were hopelessly deadlocked after deliberating for about three days. In January, King County prosecutors said they would retry Wynn for the slaying of Robert Wykel, whose body has not been found.

Wykel, 66, disappeared in February 1996 after telling friends he was going to check out a vintage Ford Thunderbird. Wykel was last seen with Wynn at Mother Nature's Acres, a resort in Thurston County. Wykel's car was found abandoned in a Burien park-and-ride lot.

The case went cold until 2009 when investigators connected Wynn to the slaying through a custom-designed ring with a distinctive diamond once owned by Wykel, charging papers said.

Wynn's ex-girlfriend said that Wynn gave her a necklace with the unusual diamond as a gift in 1996, the same year Wykel disappeared. Wynn told her he found the stone at a bus stop in Burien, the same place where Wykel's car was found abandoned, court documents said.

When the two broke up, Wynn took back the stone and sold it to his aunt, according to charging papers. Detectives recovered the diamond from Wynn's aunt and had it appraised, court documents said. The 1.28-carat diamond was worth $5,000 and had several chips and abrasions, according to the charging papers.

Wykel's daughter told detectives the ring would be banged up because her father wore it while working on cars, according to the charging papers.

Wynn was charged with first-degree murder in February 2009.

During Wynn's first trial, defense attorney Robert Jourdan said there was no evidence that Wykel was slain, nor was there any way to determine the diamond was the distinctive stone that was once worn by Wykel.

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