Father of Baby Kate loses involuntary imprisonment appeal

December 18, 2013
Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips

The Victory Township man accused of murdering his infant daughter has lost an appeal against his 2012 unlawful imprisonment conviction. Sean Michael Phillips, 24, was appealing the decision of a jury that put him away to prison for 10 to 15 years for the disappearance of his then 4-month-old daughter, Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips.

Mlive.com reported that on Dec. 17, a three-judge panel from the Michigan Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the felony conviction. The ruling is related to the murder charges.

Judge Richard Cooper.

Judge Richard Cooper.

Phillips is scheduled to appear in front of Judge Pete Wadel for a preliminary examination in Mason County’s 79th District Court on Jan. 9 and 10 for the charge of open murder of Baby Kate.

Phillips was found guilty following a trial in April 2012 for the June 2011 disappearance of his daughter. In June 2012 51st Circuit Court Judge Richard Cooper sentenced Phillips to 10 to 15 years in prison, the longest sentence allowed by law. While 15 years is the maximum allowed by law for the charge of unlawful imprisonment, Judge Cooper imposed a 10-year minimum, though state probation agents calculated a minimum sentence of not more than three years incarceration.

On July 2, 2012, Phillips appealed the conviction, though Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola and the Michigan Attorney General’s office opposed the appeal.

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola

Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola

The three-judge panel wrote: “The infant was wholly dependant on others and unable to survive on her own. Defendant not only exploited the victim’s youth, but also exploited her incapacity as an infant when he separated her from her mother, left her in a location where she would not be found, and ensured that she could not communicate her predicament to others.”

Phillips is currently serving at the Carson City Correctional Facility with no chance of release until at least June 29, 2021.

In September 2013, the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office along with the Michigan Attorney General’s office charged Phillips with open murder.


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