Phillips murder case recessed for three months
Fri, 04 Apr 2014 20:57:02 GMT —
The case against Sean Phillips, the man facing murder charges in the disappearance of his infant daughter, will be recessed for three months.
The recess is meant to give both sides time to develop other witnesses and evidence.
Sean Phillips is facing a charge of open murder in the disappearance of his four-month-old daughter in June of 2011.
The preliminary hearing, meant to determine if the evidence presents a cause to continue to trial, started Thursday and has continued throughout the day Friday.
Friday's testimony centered around law enforcement and people who had personal interactions with Phillips. Several pieces of evidence were also entered into record.
The court heard from Ludington Police Officer Tony Kuster and Mason County Undersheriff Jody Harley who were at Phillips' home the day the child went missing.
Both men said that Phillips was pacing in his driveway and that he appeared aggressive when they questioned him.
Officer Kuster said that when he asked Phillips in Baby Kate was ok, he responded with "it is with Ariel." They then decided to take Phillips into custody.
When he was patted down, Kuster said he found something in Phillips' pocket.
"Sgt. Hartley reached directly into the right cargo pocket on the shorts, squeezed his pocket and asked 'what is this?," said Tony Kuster, Ludington Police Officer. "....He stated 'it's her clothes."
Both officers identified the pink, white and floral outfit for the court.
Dan Ruba, a friend who lived with Ariel Courtland, Baby Kate's mother, and her mother around the time of the incident said that he had beers with Phillips in his garage on occasion. Ruba told the court that Phillips had once said that he was angry at Courtland and would do anything to make her go away.
During the same conversation, Ruba said Phillips told him that he would be able to hide a body that no one would be able to find because of his military training.
The court also heard from Rushaun Burton, who spent time with Phillips in 2013 as an inmate at the Carson City Correction Facility. He said Phillips told him that he "picked the baby up and got rid of the baby."
Burton testified that Phillips also said that he "couldn't be charged because they won't find the baby."
Detectives from Mason County also testified that through the botanical searches after materials were found on Phillips' shoes, authorities were able to narrow down their search to one spot - an area called Lemke Drain in Mason County. All the materials found on Phillips' shoe were located in that area.
Authorities also narrowed it down through pings from a cell phone tower in the area that showed Phillips was in that region the afternoon the child went missing. A K9 unit was able to "hit on" the spot, but the child has still not been found.
The next date for the preliminary hearing has not yet been set.