Jury watches detective’s interview with Baby Kate’s father.

October 3, 2016
Sean Phillips

Sean Phillips

Jury watches detective’s interview with Baby Kate’s father.


LUDINGTON — The 14-person jury — seven women and seven men — watched a 75-minute video interview Monday afternoon conducted by the Mason County Sheriff’s Office and Sean Michael Phillips in 2011. Phillips is on trial in 51st Circuit Court for the murder of his then-4-month-old daughter, Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips.

In the video, Phillips reiterated that he was uncertain Kate was actually his daughter. He went on to say that Kate’s mother, Ariel Courtland, got pregnant on purpose to entrap him.

Sgt. Det. Tom Posma

Sgt. Det. Tom Posma

On June 29, 2011, the day that Baby Kate was last seen, Phillips and Courtland had gone to get a paternity test and then argued in the parking lot of Courtland’s apartment complex, Birch Lake Apartments in Ludington, just before Kate vanished. In the video, Phillips claimed Courtland took Kate with her when she got out of his car.

Pressed on where Kate was, Phillips placed blame on Courtland.

“Are you going to do the right thing or the wrong thing?” Mason County Sheriff Det. Sgt. Tom Posma, the lead investigator on the case, asked Phillips in the video.

“The community won’t stand for this,” he continued.

Posma then flat-out accused Phillips of taking the child and leaving her somewhere. The conversation ended soon after that.


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