Trial moves forward in Baby Kate case.

September 6, 2016
Sean Phillips is led into the courtroom by Michigan Department of Corrections officers.

Sean Phillips is led into the courtroom by a Michigan Department of Corrections officer.

#MasonCountyCourtNews #BabyKate

By MCP’s Rob Alway and Allison Scarbrough.

LUDINGTON — Prison inmate Sean Michael Phillips, 26, who is accused of murdering his daughter Katherine Phillips, also known as “Baby Kate,” appeared in 51st Circuit Court at the Mason County Courthouse Tuesday, Sept. 6, for a final conference hearing.

phillips_sean_09-06-16_bAfter some discussion in chambers with Prosecutor Donna Pendergast of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola and Defense Attorney David Glancy, Mason County’s 79th District Court Judge Peter Wadel came out into the courtroom and announced to the media that “nothing on the record was happening today.” The officials discussed scheduling, Wadel said.

The case remains scheduled for trial from Sept. 26 to Oct. 14. The trial will be presided over by Judge Wadel, because 51st Circuit Court Judge Susan Sniegowski was involved with previous legal cases involving Phillips when she was a private attorney.

Phillips, who appeared briefly in the courtroom with Michigan Department of Corrections officers before going into chambers, is currently serving the fourth year of a 10 to 15 year prison sentence for the unlawful imprisonment of then 4-month-old Baby Kate who has been missing since June 29, 2011. Testimony during Phillips’ April 2012 trial revealed that he was the last person to see the baby.

In October 2013, Spaniola and Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette announced that they had filed murder charges against Phillips.

The charges are based on a series of circumstantial evidence including a confession letter that Phillips allegedly wrote from prison.

Initially, the murder charges were dropped by Wadel. That decision was over-turned by now-retired 51st Circuit Court Judge Richard Cooper. Phillips then appealed Cooper’s decision but ultimately lost.

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