Phillips murder case back in court for pre-trial hearing
Sean Phillips, father of "Baby Kate", was in a Mason County courtroom again Thursday for a pre-trial hearing. Four-month-old Katherine Phillips disappeared in June 2011, her body has never been found.
Prosecutors relied heavily on a letter written by Phillips to Ariel Courtland from prison. Courtland is Baby Kate's mother. In the letter, Phillips describes what happened the day his daughter went missing including saying he was "angry" and that he left Baby Kate in a "peaceful place". Phillips ends the letter by asking Courtland to destroy it, but the letter landed in the hands of investigators instead.
For a short time, it wasn't clear if Phillips was truly the author, but after DNA tests and handwriting analysis, both the prosecution and the defense agree it was written by Phillips.
Defense attorney David Glancy countered by saying the letter does not prove there was intent to do harm to Baby Kate. And, in fact, it could be seen as a "confession to, at most, manslaughter," not the open degree murder charge prosecutors are looking for.
"The people don't like that argument. They want this to be a murder. They want it to be a first degree murder, but I don't believe the facts and the evidence presented at the prelims support that position," said Glancy.
But the prosecution insists the actions described in the letter are "not the actions of an innocent man. He knew he did something wrong."
The judge will now decide what charges Sean Phillips will next be facing in court. He says he'll have that decision ready in mid-August.