Phillips to appear in court today; Baby Kate murder trial scheduled for later this month.

September 6, 2016
Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips

#MasonCountyCourtNews #BabyKate

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Sean Michael Phillips is scheduled to appear in 51st Circuit Court at the Mason County Courthouse today at 1 p.m. for a final conference. Phillips is currently serving the fourth year of a 10 to 15 year prison sentence for the unlawful imprisonment of Katherine Phillips. Katherine, also known as “Baby Kate” has been missing since June 29, 2011; at that time she was 4-months-old. Testimony during Phillips’ April 2012 trial revealed that he was the last person to see the baby.

In October 2013, Mason County Prosecutor Paul 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 Mason County’s 79th District Court Judge Peter Wadel. That decision was over-turned by now-retired 51st Circuit Court Judge Richard Cooper. Phillips then appealed Cooper’s decision but ultimately lost.

The case is 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.

A final conference is typically an opportunity for the prosecutor to offer a plea agreement to the defendant. If the defendant refuses the plea agreement, then the matter will go to trial.

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