Man accused of murdering baby to appear in court Thursday

July 30, 2014
Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

LUDINGTON — After a three month adjournment, the murder case against the man accused of murdering his 4-month-old daughter will continue Thursday morning.

Sean Michael Phillips of Victory Township, is charged with the June 2011 murder of Katherine Phillips, who was 4-months-old when she disappeared. He is currently serving a 10- to 15-year prison sentence for the unlawful imprisonment of Katherine, also known as Baby Kate. In October 2013 he was charged with the open murder of the baby, even though no body has been found. Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola and the Michigan Attorney General’s office state the charges are based on circumstantial evidence.

The 79th District Court preliminary examination is the continuation of a hearing that began in April.  A preliminary examination is a time for the prosecution to show there is probable cause to prove a felony was committed and thus turn the matter over to circuit court.

Following the prosecution’s final witness in the 79th District Court preliminary examination on April 4, the defense team asked for time to have an expert analyze a piece of evidence, presumably a confession letter Phillips sent to Ariel Courtland, the mother of Katherine (and their other child, Haley). Because only a judge decides the probable cause in an preliminary examination, details of some evidence are not presented to the open court, unlike in a jury trial.

Court is expected to resume at 9 a.m. at the Mason County Courthouse.

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