Those Who Were Subpoenaed But Never Testified at the Sean Phillips Murder Trial: An Overview

In reviewing the court records for the open murder trial of Sean Phillips, in which he was found guilty of second degree murder on October 14th, there were several witnesses for both the prosecution and defense that were subpoenaed to testify but never did.  While it is impossible to know exactly why these witnesses were never called without hooking up a lie detector to the two lead attorneys for both parties and making them talk, I will list them and endeavor to rationalize why they weren't called beginning chronologically on the dates they were sent their summons to testify in this matter.

Bud Parrish (contacted August 26, 2016):  Bud Parrish was subpoenaed in the 2014 prelim and never testified, but he did add a little back in the original trial in 2012.  As noted here:   Bud was one of Dan Ruba's friends, who recreated with him and Sean on occasions, who recalled Sean said of Ariel:  "I can't stand her.  I don't want to be with her." and witnessed constant arguing.

Parrish's testimony may have been thought to be superfluous to Ruba's and perhaps he was cut by the prosecution when Ruba did a credible job.  He could have helped the defense establish an additional line of reasonable doubt as to who exactly Sean was most angry with.

Aaron Salisbury (pictured above)(August 26):  Salisbury was Ariel's boss when this all took place, and had some interesting testimony about Ariel in the first trial in 2012.  He testified that according to Ariel, Sean had thrown Baby Kate into a lake and that she was dead.  Meaty stuff for prosecuting a murder, you would think, but he also noted:   "She said that in her mind that the baby was safe, whether it was alive or dead… That it was in a safe place and that God would take care of the baby,” so she wanted to “move on,”. 

Originally a defense witness, Salisbury's testimony could deflate some of the credibility of Ariel's testimony, and possibly diminish the focus of the jury on the confession letter which doesn't mention disposal in a lake. 

Nicholas Grandstaff (August 29):  Nicholass testimony in the first trial was previously spotlighted in this article:  The Other Lost Afternoon Hour in the Disappearance of Baby Kate.  Nicholas speaks clearly about the two parents arguing outside for a few minutes, before Sean puts the car seat into his car, and Ariel storms off.  This debunks Ariel's story of going to the DHS big time and perhaps explains why there is no footage (after careful review of the hospital footage) of Sean's car ever heading south around that time. 

Grandstaff's version as a close neighbor is a lot more consistent than Ellen Montgomery (who did testify at this trial) and throws some extra confusion into the mix.  If the defense had only one witness to call this should have been the one to debunk Ariel's testimony and lead the jury into thinking about a more sinister plot by the two, but also possibly involving a secret adoption. 

Kenny Wilson (August 30):  Wilson lived with Ariel's mother during this time and testified at the 2012 trial that Ariel had threatened Sean many times that she would kidnap their oldest daughter, Haley.  Wilson also said Sean told him, “It’s not my kid, I don’t want nothing to do with it,” referring to the baby as “it.”  He also mentioned a time when Ariel threatened to put her cell phone in Sean's car then call the police and say he stole it.

But he also said that Sean offered to pay him $5,000 to kill Ariel and offered other people living in Ariel’s mother’s home $10,000 to kick her out.  Wilson thus could have helped paint Phillips as a potentially violent person and one who objectified the kid, however, he would have also shown a side of Ariel that the prosecution would rather not show.

Ed Price (August 31):  Price is a detective for the MSP specializing in the category of human trafficking.  He has not testified before in the Baby Kate trials, and was probably put on the list to refute the defense if they did a fair job in presenting their case for doing an illegal adoption.

Fawn Nelson (September 8):  Nelson was a close friend of Ariel's who has not previously testified.  She was perhaps he closest friend at the time and accompanied Ariel overnight when she stayed at the LPD station the night of Kate's disappearance.  She likely would have added little to the prosecution's case, and represented a potential of disclaiming some of Ariel's assertions, particularly since they aren't the closest of friends anymore. 

Ben Schiller (September 8):  Little is known about this Scottville native's connection to this case.  Schiller appears to be a drummer in a local band and was listed among the subpoenaed individuals from 2014, but his part in this has never been alluded to.

Tom Brown (September 8):  Brown is a Mason County Sheriff's deputy who LPD Officer Tony Kuster testified as being the one who secured the crime scene in the 2014 preliminary hearing and this trial.  His lack of testifying was likely due to there being no need to since the defense did not question the securing or forensics involved in the CSI of the Phillips estate.

Alexis Sandretto (pictured below)(September 8):  Another enigma here.  Sandretto was pointed at as starting a rumor that Kate's body had been found, shortly after the confession letter's appearance.  Other than that she put this information on Kenny Wilson's Facebook page, it is unknown what information she would have supplied to help either side.

Thus concludes the list of those who were called but failed to testify at this trial (other than Sean's dad).  Another interesting point about the subpoenas is that Abram Hernandez (fireworks vendor) and Reshaun Burton (Sean's prison 'buddy') were both gotten hold of only after the trial started, but they were both able to testify nonetheless. 

It is likely that only Salisbury, Grandstaff, and Wilson would have potentially had any impact on the end result.   

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Replies to This Discussion

Well I still believe Arial has a LOT TO Do with this case n she is the one if everybody remember's that said "If the baby was out of her life, everything would be so much better." What Sean's parent's need is a real n better forensics people from not around Ludington to investigate this case their is stuff that is over looked . put the right person away n not sean!!!!!!

Excellent synopsis X. If the defense attorney had been on the ball he would have requested that the trial be decided by a judge instead of a jury, especially considering the prosecution did not want the judge. Shawn most likely would have beaten this case. This also goes for the first trial.

I guess it's easier to choose that option in hindsight, but it shows how inept as a lawyer that David Glancy is.  In the preliminary, Judge Wadel saw everything they were presented with here, and ruled that there was not probable cause enough to conduct an open murder trial. 

That get's overruled, and after the prosecution's attempts at getting Judge Wadel disqualified from the trial fail, Glancy decides to go with a jury trial-- when the other side has a presentation with flashy forensic evidence (that shows nothing, but impresses the unknowing) and their appeal is to the raw emotions-- rather than one where Judge Wadel decides.  Glancy doesn't even repeat the mantra of reasonable doubt or attempt a focused defense, presenting a lifeless monotone looking at meaningless inconsistencies.

If you have never listened to me before listen to me now:  if you are charged with a crime in Mason County, no matter whether you are guilty or innocent, and cannot afford your own attorney, do not let the court assign you David Glancy. 

So true' Glancy is so piss poor he can't even beat a case that has no evidence and his client gets a long sentence. Mason County is a disgrace. Glancy is deplorable. Sean will appeal this decision and will be exonerated. Only in Mason County can you get jail time with no evidence. sickening'

Oh ya that's for sure  x cause you will get hung if you do.

Where is baby Kate?
So Alexis has made a public announcement that Kate was found and found deceased, here is what she had to say.

Alexis Sandretto nay. n the trial is in june i believe. they already found kate she is gone unfortunately.

Well doug yall can think as you please. i found the letter in my new apt that kenny left in my old apt and ben packed everything up and moved it and i unpacked it found it called 911 so i know wtf im talking about. the government is corrupt and in this instance they want it down low. court is in june and yall will see for yourself. the cops even told me to not tell anyone cuz i would have news agencies at my door in the morning amongst other things...the truth will come out its just a matter of time. and those responcible for her death will be convicted and if not by the law then by god.
4 hours ago via mobile

Alexis Sandretto I think its real fucked up and i know alot about this case way more than i want to and more than everyone but a few people minus the cops know. i believe eveeryone should have known the truth the very day it all happened but thats not how the law works they keep it on the down low so people come forward and they can get it all sorted out. bye im not saying anymore.

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