LUDINGTON, Mich. (WOOD) — Mason County Judge Peter Wadel can hear the trial of Sean Phillips for the murder of his infant daughter Katherine.
Monday, Judge Scott Hill-Kennedy of Mecosta County denied a motion filed by the state Attorney General’s Office and the Mason County Prosecutor’s Office seeking Wadel’s disqualification.
Phillips, 25, is accused of murdering his 4-month-old daughter Katherine — better known as Baby Kate — in the summer of 2011. Her body has never been found.
The AG and county prosecutor didn’t want Wadel to hear the trial because he previously threw out the murder charge while serving in the district court. It was reinstated by previous Mason County Circuit Court Chief Judge Richard Cooper.
After Cooper retired, Wadel took his place and assigned himself to Phillips’ trial. Prosecutors filed a motion in March saying Wadel shouldn’t and may not be allowed to preside over the murder trial because he was involved at the district court level and already ruled on many of the issues that may come up.
>>Inside woodtv.com: Interactive timeline of the Baby Kate case
Phillips is already serving a prison sentence after being convicted of unlawful imprisonment in the disappearance of his daughter.
He is challenging the murder charge. That case is now before the Michigan Court of Appeals.