LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — A former prison mate of the man accused of murdering his baby daughter testified against him in court Friday afternoon.
Sean Phillips is charged with open murder in the alleged death of his infant daughter in 2011. Katherine Phillips, who became known as Baby Kate, has not been found.
A flurry of witnesses took the stand in the first two days of Phillips’ preliminary exam on the murder charge.
The hearing recessed late Friday afternoon for at least the next three months as defense attorneys examine some of the evidence with experts.
Much of the testimony in the preliminary exam mirrored what was presented at Phillips’ trial on the unlawful imprisonment charge that he currently is serving prison time for.
A key new witness, Rushaun Burton, took the stand Friday claiming that he’d befriended Phillips and that the accused baby-killer vaguely told him what happened to his daughter.
“He said he picked the baby up and got rid of the baby,” Burton said. “When I asked him what he meant, he kind of got closed up from the conversation and he said, ‘Well, I can’t be charged cause they won’t find her.'”
Burton is serving time on an armed robbery and drug conviction. He says he’s known as “Death Row” to his fellow prisoners.
While he’s currently seeking parole, Burton said he had no ulterior motives in coming forward with his testimony.
“After Sean told me what he did, I start thinking about my daughters. I have two younger daughters, and it was just on my heart and weighing on it to do the right thing,” Burton said.
He wrote a letter to the state attorney general’s office detailing the allegations and was later contacted by police.
Despite the alleged confession, Burton says Phillips did not give him details about where Baby Kate might be.
“He wouldn’t say anything else about it,” Burton said. “He wouldn’t give me any more details.”
Phillips’ attorney worked to discredit Burton in cross-examination pointing out parts of Sean’s alleged statement that don’t match case details.
Burton says Phillips began discussing his case last year as the pair talked about celebrity wives who take advantage of their husbands for money.
“The defendant said that he had a similar situation. The girl has a baby that’s not his but she’s not going to get a dime from him,” Burton said.
Phillips attorney David Glancy questioned that why Phillips might say something like that when Phillips was actually receiving child support payments not paying them out.
He also asked Burton whether he knew the names of anyone involved. Burton said he thought the mother of Phillips’ children was named “Katie”.
Investigators say they have narrowed down where Sean Phillips went the day his daughter vanished to a drainage area in Mason County. Despite searches of that area, no evidence connected to Kate’s disappearance was found.