Murder trial scheduled in Baby Kate case

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LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A date has been set for the murder trial of Sean Phillips, accused of killing his baby daughter Katherine in 2011.

The trial is scheduled to start in Mason County Circuit Court on Sept. 26 and could take three weeks.

Phillips, 26, is already serving a prison sentence of between 10 and 15 years after being convicted of unlawful imprisonment of his 4-month-old daughter, who became known as Baby Kate in the weeks after she vanished near Ludington in July 2011.

He was convicted of and sentenced on that charge in 2012. The Mason County Prosecutor’s Office and Michigan Attorney General’s Office announced in October 2013 they would also charge him with murder.

The murder charge is based in large part on a letter Phillips sent to Kate’s mother from prison in which he described throwing the baby’s car seat while she was still in it and then leaving her body somewhere in the country. Her remains have not been found.>>Inside woodtv.com: Timeline of Phillips case

A series of appeals delayed the murder trial. One judge threw out the charge, then another reinstated it. The state Court of Appeals agreed with that ruling and then the Michigan Supreme Court denied Phillips’ appeal, letting the murder charge stand.

There was also a dispute about which judge would hear the trial. Prosecutors didn’t want Mason County Judge Peter Wadel to hear the case in circuit court because he was the judge who initially threw out the murder charge against Phillips. After a series of appeals, it was decided that Wadel could hear the case.

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