In one way, the trial starting in Ludington is a reset of the testimony and evidence used at a trial in 2012 -- but this time, the stakes are much higher for Sean Phillips, the father of "Baby Kate."
Dozens of Mason County residents were questioned Monday, Sept. 26, about their ability to be fair and impartial jurors. Numerous people were excused, some because they knew witnesses. Another person was asked to leave for a medical condition that would have made it difficult to attend what is expected to be a long trial.
Sean Phillips is being tried in 51st Circuit Court in Mason County. It is the same venue where a jury previously returned a guilty verdict on a charge of unlawful imprisonment relating to his daughter.
In court this time, prosecutors are after a guilty verdict on the charge of open murder. If successful, Phillips would face the potential of a life in prison sentence. Phillips' daughter Katherine "Baby Kate" Phillips went missing on June 29, 2011.
Phillips currently is serving a 10-15-year prison sentence for the unlawful imprisonment conviction.
Because of the high-profile case, an extra large jury pool was summonsed. Half of the 200-potential jurors were called to the courthouse Monday morning.
The second half will report Tuesday morning.
The case is unique -- few open murder cases go to trial without a body. "Baby Kate" has not been located.
There were numerous police and public searches of forest area near Phillips' home. The only clue as to what happened to "Baby Kate" was in a letter prosecutors say Phillips wrote in jail, claiming he set his child down in a "peaceful place."
The court is hopeful a jury can be seated by Tuesday afternoon. The trial is expected to last approximately three weeks.