Baby Kate's father challenging conviction

Sean Phillips was convicted of unlawfully imprisoning his four-month-old daughter Katherine.

The father of missing baby Katherine Phillips - or "Baby Kate" as she became known - is challenging his conviction of unlawfully imprisoning his daughter.

Sean Phillips, who was convicted of the unlawful imprisonment of his 4-month-old daughter Katherine, has filed an appeal with the Michigan Appeals Court.

According to his attorney, Valerie Newman, the appeal was filed on February 14. They are citing three reasons for appeal:

  • The state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Kate was "restrained."

  • Mason County Judge Richard Cooper erred in instructing the jury that the secret confinement could be from either Kate's mother, Ariel Courtland, or from the State of Michigan.

  • The judge departed from sentencing recommendations for reasons that were not articulated as substantial or compelling.

Newman says it could take up to nine months for the decision to be rendered.

A jury found Phillips guilty of the unlawful imprisonment of his daughter in April of 2012. He was sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison.

Baby Kate went missing in June of 2011, when her mother, Ariel Courtland reported her as missing. Courtland testified that Phillips allegedly drove off with the child and that was the last time she saw her.

A letter, apparently written by Sean Phillips in prison, details what happened the day Baby Kate disappeared.

Mason County Prosecuting Attorney Paul Spaniola told 7&4 News in September that the letter was given to investigative officers by a family member of Baby Kate.