Baby Kate- jurors deliberate
LUDINGTON, MI – Jurors in the Baby Kate case began deliberating around 6 p.m. to decide the fate of Sean Michael Phillips.
Phillips, 22, of Mason County’s Victory Township is charged with unlawful imprisonment, a 15-year felony, in the alleged abduction of his 4 ½-month-old daughter, Katherine Shelbie-Elizabeth Phillips.
She has not been seen since just after 1 p.m. June 29, 2011, when Phillips allegedly took her from her mother, Ariel Courtland, outside Courtland’s Ludington apartment complex.
Mason County 51st Circuit Judge Richard I. Cooper gave jurors until 7:30 p.m. to deliberate, unless they reach a verdict sooner. At that time, he will poll them to see if they want to continue, go out to dinner or come back in the morning.
In closing arguments late Thursday afternoon, Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola and defense attorney Annette Smedley of Muskegon summed up their cases to jurors.
Spaniola called Phillips’ alleged actions – whatever he did with the baby – a “crime of opportunity” spurred by his being forced by a court order to take a paternity test at noon that day. He said Phillips feared the reaction of his parents, with whom he lived, and to whom he repeatedly denied being the baby’s father.