Relatives Say Zyriah Schlitter Never Explained Bruises on Toddler

By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter

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By Liz Blood

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Jurors saw photos of the 17-month-old Kamryn Schlitter as she lay in a hospital bed on a ventilator March 22, 2010.

The photos showed bruises and marks to her face and chin area, arms, chest and legs.

Jeri King, Kamryn’s grandmother, started crying as she told jurors she took the photos because of the severity of the injuries.

“She liked to climb things,” King, who now lives in Arkansas, said. “She was active and smart. She was playful. She never had injuries before (March 2010). Some bumps and bruises but not like (photos).”

King, saw a bruise on Kamryn’s cheek in February 2010 and asked her father Zyriah Schlitter how it happened but he never gave her an answer.

The prosecution continues its case 9 a.m. Friday in the murder trial of Zyriah Schlitter, 25, of Cedar Rapids. Schlitter, charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death, is accused of killing Kamryn, who died March 28, 2010. According to investigators, Kamryn suffered a subdural hematoma on the left side of her head and severe bruising on her neck, chin, underarms and her chest. She died of severe head trauma.

Amy Jo Parmer, 29, of Hiawatha, Schlitter's ex-girlfriend, is also charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. Her trial is set Jan. 14, 2013.

Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey continues her live coverage from the courtroom where viewers can ask questions and provide comments.

King said she was concerned about Zyriah Schlitter’s temper or frustration at times with Kamryn and tried to give him parenting advice when he and her daughter Nicole lived with her. She recalled one time when Kamryn was 6-months-old and he left marks on her body after getting frustrated and picking her up too fast. King was downstairs when it happened but the floor shook from his movement and by the time she got upstairs he was holding and consoling Kamryn.

Stacy Schuites, Parmer’s sister, testified she was at the hospital March 21, when Kamryn was taken in and Zyriah Schlitter said Kamryn’s forehead bruising resulted from her falling and hitting her head at her grandmother’s.

Donna Hartz, Zyriah Schlitter’s grandmother, said Kamryn threw a temper tantrum one time and hit her head on the bed but there wasn’t a serious injury or bruising. She didn’t feel a bump on Kamryn’s head.

Donna Hartz also said she saw finger marks on Kamryn’s cheeks but she explained Zyriah did that while trying to make her take medicine for an ear infection. She admitted her grandson got impatient with Kamryn taking the medicine.

Herbert Hartz, Zyriah Schlitter’s step-grandfather, testified he saw bruising under Kamryn’s eye and he asked Zyriah how it happened but he didn’t get an answer.

Kamryn and Zyriah Schlitter lived with the Hartzs in March 2010.

King also testified about seeing changes in Kamryn’s behavior in late February or March 2010 when she moved in with her father.

King said Kamryn hit her, which she had never done before.

“She was on my lap and she took my hand and hit herself and then looked at me for my reaction,” King said. “I thought that was odd. She had never hit me. One other time, she was one my lap and hit me square in the face.”
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