This decision came as a shock to many who have followed the Baby Kate case, but was expected by others. The Mason County Prosecutor and the Michigan Attorney General, who filed the charges, say they plan to appeal this decision.
“We have evidence that we are convinced will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Sean Phillips murdered his own daughter,” Attorney General Bill Schuette said in October.
But Mason County District Court Judge Peter Wadel says there are minimal new facts presented by the prosecution.
He says that those new details were not revealed in the unlawful imprisonment case which sentenced Phillips to 10 to 15 years in prison.
Whether Baby Kate is alive or not and her whereabouts are the central questions for Judge Wadel.
He points to Phillips' two plausible stories about what happened to Kate: the first that he had given her up for adoption, and the second, that he had accidentally killed the four-and-a-half-month-old and left her in a “peaceful place.”
Judge Wadel concludes by saying the prosecution has failed to show that the crime of open murder was committed by Phillips.
“Baby Kate deserves full justice. We will not settle for any less,” said Schuette. “As Attorney General, it is my job to ensure every victim across our state has a voice no matter who you are or where you live.”
“We have already decided that the pursuit of justice for Baby Kate is to appeal this decision and have the circuit judge review the evidence which we presented at the preliminary examination,” Spaniola said.