Prosecutors will appeal judge’s decision on Phillips.

September 15, 2014
Michigan Attorney General Bill Schutte, left, with Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schutte, left, with Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola.

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola today announced they will appeal 79th District Court Judge Peter Wadel’s dismissal of the open murder charge against Sean Phillips, 23, of Victory Township, in the death of his daughter, Katherine Phillips, the Mason County infant missing for two years and known as “Baby Kate” in the media. Attorney General Schuette and Prosecutor Spaniola charged Phillips with murder in October 2013. Schuette will appeal the dismissed charge against Phillips in 51st Circuit Court.

“Baby Kate deserves full justice. We will not settle for any less,” said Schuette. “As attorney general, it is my job to ensure every victim across our state has a voice no matter who you are or where you live.”

“We have already decided that the pursuit of justice for Baby Kate is to appeal this decision and have the circuit judge review the evidence which we presented at the preliminary examination,” said Paul Spaniola, Mason County Prosecutor.

Background on Katherine Phillips Case

On October 4, 2013, Schuette and Spaniola filed one count of open murder, a felony punishable by up to life in prison, against Sean Phillips in 79th District Court. The charge alleges that Sean Phillips murdered his daughter, Katherine ‘Kate’ Phillips on June 29, 2011.  By definition, an open murder charge allows jurors to determine the level of the defendant’s culpability.

“I’m grateful for the help and hard work provided by Mason Prosecutor Spaniola, (Ludington Police) Chief Mark Barnett, (Mason County) Sheriff Kim Cole, the Michigan State Police, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation and their efforts in this case,” said Schuette.

The murder case against Phillips will continue to be prosecuted jointly by Spaniola and Assistant Attorney General Donna Pendergast of the Attorney General’s Criminal Division.


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