Jury deliberates, goes home in 'Baby Kate' trial following closing arguments

The jury is now deciding the fate of Sean Phillips -- the Mason County man accused in the 2011 murder of his infant daughter, known as "Baby Kate."

LUDINGTON, MICH. - Update: The judge sent the jury home for the day. They are slated to come back Thursday to deliberate further.

LUDINGTON, Mich. -- The murder case against the father of "Baby Kate" now is in the hands of the jury.

Closing arguments from the prosecution and defense concluded around noon Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The trial began with jury selection on Sept. 26, with testimony from more than 40 witnesses since then. 

Prosecutors charged Sean Phillips with open murder. They say he's the one who took the life of his daughter, 4-month-old Katherine Phillips, in 2011. Numerous searches around Mason County were conducted by both police and members of the public. 

Her body was never found.

Prosecutor Donna Pendergast told jurors during closing arguments not to be fooled by Sean Phillips' calculated actions to mislead and cover up what happened to "Baby Kate." Much of what she said centered around a letter Phillips wrote while in prison. 

In that letter, Phillips said he put Kate in a "peaceful place."

"A peaceful place out in the middle of the wild, naked, so animals could rip apart her body," Pendergast, said. "Babies do not just end up naked in the woods, somebody has to put them there."

That somebody Pendergast said is Phillips.

In court Tuesday, Mason County Judge Peter Wadel acquitted Phillips of a first-degree premeditated murder charge. Jurors will decide a second-degree murder charge. 

Wadel told them during jury instructions they may also consider a charge of involuntary manslaughter, but only after reaching a unanimous decision of not guilty on the second-degree murder charge.  

(© 2016 WZZM)


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