LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) - The jurors in the Sean Phillips trial deliberated about five hours before reaching a verdict in the Baby Kate case.
Phillips, 22, was found guilty of the unlawful imprisonment of the 4-month-old, who has not been seen since June 29, 2011. He faces up to 15 years in prison.
One juror, who preferred to remain publicly anonymous, told 24 Hour News 8 there were 5-6 guilty votes immediately when deliberations began. The others were either leaning to not guilty or were undecided.
Around 10 a.m. Friday, the jurors all got on the same page, this juror said. They asked Judge Richard Cooper to clarify the unlawful imprisonment charge, and Cooper's answer helped the jurors understand it better.
The anonymous juror explained reasons why a guilty verdict was returned:
-- "The fact that the child was in the car. The that (Sean Phillips) ended up with the kid's clothing in his pants and all the other stuff in the trunk was all I needed."
-- "The prosecutor initially said nobody's going to like (Ariel) and I don't think anyone on the jury did like her."
-- "Some jurors are not certain (Ariel) didn't have something to do with it. Some jurors think she may have been involved somehow."
-- "Some of the jurors viewed the note (found in Phillips pants after he was arrested) as evidence, almost an admission" of guilt because it said Baby Kate was safe someplace.
-- "It's emotionally draining, mentally draining. You don't want to send someone to jail without looking thoroughly at all everything that was presented. The worst thing of the trial was coming in there and saying 'guilty.' You're changing someone's life. His life will never be the same again."
As to where Baby Kate is, the anonymous juror said, "It's all guesswork. Hard to say. Alive would be the best scenario. Hopefully she is."
GRAM Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in front of a festive downtown crowd at Rosa Parks Circle Friday night.
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Investigators in Montcalm County are working to determine what led up to a deadly crash.