Sean Phillips Murder Trial: Plant Material Investigation

The wait continues.

Still no verdict in the Sean Phillips murder trial on day three of jury deliberation.

Northern Michigan’s News Leader has been in the Mason County courthouse for every day of the trial, now in its third week.

The jury is deciding if Phillips is guilty or not of second degree murder or involuntarily manslaughter.

Phillips is accused of killing his four and a half month old daughter Katherine, known as Baby Kate, back in 2011 in Ludington.

Phillips is currently in prison for unlawful imprisonment.

Police never found Kate’s body.

9&10’s David Lyden has been there since the start of the trial and has more on where things stand from Ludington.

Jurors have been deliberating since 8:30 Friday morning and they are still going.

As we continue to wait for a verdict, we spoke with one of the men who helped collect some of the evidence jurors are now going over.

“I answered a calling,” says Mason County Superintendent Jeff Mount. “They were asking for folks, anybody in the community with maybe a science background and maybe something in botany.”

Mason County Central Superintendent Jeff Mount was exactly who investigators were looking for.

He has a degree in biology,

They needed help trying to match plant matter found on Sean Phillips shoes to an area in Mason County

“You had to be able to trace through some pretty nasty stuff, you were going to be dirty, you were going to be sweaty, definitely see parts of Mason County you have never seen,” says Mount.

Investigators thought if they could narrow down where the plants came from, they might find Kate.

“That’s of course why we wiped our feet after we came out of every area we looked at,” says Mount. “It was neat investigative work, even though it turns out it didn’t really didn’t lead to that but that’s science. Science is always asking questions trying to experiment and find the answers to those questions. They don’t always lead to an answer and it sounds like this one really didn’t lead to the answer but it also might have helped with some elimination too.”

Regardless of what the search turned up, the prosecution made it part of their case, and presented it to jurors as something to look at

“I’m sure there is lots and lots of evidence for the jury to go over and what piece this plays in their final verdict is yet to be seen at this moment,” says Mount

Northern Michigan’s News Leader with stay in Ludington until the jury reaches a verdict or goes home.

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