No wedding for Ariel and Sean

September 17, 2012

Ariel Courtland at the Phillips trial

Ariel Courtland now says she won’t marry Sean Phillips, the man suspected of killing their daughter, Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips.

WOOD TV in Grand Rapids has reported that Courtland, who took out a marriage license in Ionia County last week, now says marrying Phillips “wasn’t the right thing to do.”

The Michigan Department of Corrections stated last week that Courtland could marry Phillips but the agency wouldn’t allow her to visit him during his minimum 10 year prison sentence. Phillips was sentenced for involuntary imprisonment of the then 4-month-old girl.

WOOD stated that Courtland contended that she made the marriage move to force prison officials to allow her a private visit with Phillips so she could get more information about what happened to Katherine.

Last week the media obtained a letter allegedly written by Phillips which gives details about killing the infant (see related story under News category).

“It was upsetting,” Courtland told WOOD, adding that she “pretty much knew in the pit of my stomach” that Kate was dead.

Courtland received the letter in August though it was postmarked on July 16. She said she spoke with investigators after receiving the letter.

Courtland said she believes the letter was stolen from her vehicle by one of her family members. She told WOOD she plans to request a police investigation into how it was obtained.

Mason County Press has been told by an official involved in the case that the letter is most likely from Phillips and it being released to the media will not hinder the investigation.

Jacob Lokers, the foreman of the Phillips trial’s jury agreed that the letter seemed to be from Phillips.

“From holding the other letter they found while he was in Mason County Jail it looks like it’s a match to the previous,” Lokers told Mason County Press. “But the last one wasn’t matched to his hand writing either. We never did understand in deliberation why they didn’t bring in a hand writing expert.

“I read the entire transcript of the new letter and to me it seems he doesn’t know prison very well yet, you would think after the first one he would have learned not to write sensitive letters but it’s only helping find Kate.

“He makes it sound like he freaked, Kate went flying and then he made stupid choices from there that he’s gonna have to pay for. But I could see his defense going for some kind of insanity defense at the time when and if this all goes to trial.”

Story and photos by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

Legally Speaking: Consent to search

Betten Baker Ford

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