Prelim Begins for Michigan Man Accused of Killing his Own Daughter
A preliminary hearing continues today for the man accused of kidnapping his 4-month old daughter from her West Michigan home, then killing her.
Sean Michael Phillips is charged with open murder in connection with the disappearance of the child known as "Baby Kate." The child's body has never been recovered.
Mlive.com is reporting today that Mason County District Judge Peter Wadel will determine if the case is strong enough to send Phillips to trial for murdering the infant. If he determines prosecutors don't have enough evidence, the case would be dismissed.
Phillips is already serving a 10 to 15 year sentence for unlawful imprisonment of the baby.
The case could be an uphill battle for prosecutors since there is no body that could provide evidence linking Phillips to the crime.
Prosecutor Paul Spaniola asked for help from the Attorney General's office in this one. AG Bill Schuette appointed Donna Pendergast to assist. She was described by Schuette as having experience in "no body" murder cases. Phillips' defense team with also some high-profile help--former U. S. Attorney for western Michigan John Smietanka.
Phillips is believed to have killed his daughter on June 29, 2011, the last day anybody saw her.
He claimed in a letter written from prison to his estranged wife that he killed Kate accidentally but doesn't remember where he dumped the body. The search has been on ever since to try to find her remains.
If convicted, he would face life in prison without the chance of parole.
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