Prosecutor: Parmer More Than a Babysitter in Last Month of Toddler's Life
By Trish Mehaffey, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Toddler Kamryn Schlitter lived in a “culture of abuse” while in the custody of her father Zyriah Schlitter and his girlfriend Amy Parmer, who took on a bigger role in the last month of Kamryn’s life, First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said Monday in his closing argument.
Maybanks told the jurors to look at what was new that month for Kamryn. Schlitter and his daughter started spending almost every night with Parmer. Before March 2010, 17-month-old Kamryn was happy, healthy and thriving.
Maybanks, showing jurors of photo of Kamryn with bruising on her face, said there has been evidence that these bruises correlate to dates Kamryn was under the control and care of Parmer.
Tyler Johnston, Parmer’s attorney, told jurors they were probably wondering four weeks ago who inflicted Kamryn’s injuries but common sense points to her father because there hasn’t been any evidence against Parmer.
“There’s not one time frame that they (state) can give you to point to Amy Parmer,” Johnston said.
Johnston said more than once in his closing the state’s theory is “ridiculous” and they should look at lack of proof in coming to a verdict.
Parmer, 29, of Hiawatha, is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. She is accused of inflicting the physical abuse of Kamryn, along with her ex-boyfriend Zyriah Schlitter. According to testimony, Parmer called 911 March 21, 2010 when Kamryn became unresponsive and began posturing. She died March 28, 2010.
Schlitter, 25, of Cedar Rapids, was convicted last December of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment resulting in death and is serving 50 years in prison.
Jury deliberations start 9 a.m. Tuesday. Follow Gazette Reporter Trish Mehaffey’s live verdict watch from the Linn County Courthouse.
Parmer in police interviews said Kamryn was adorable, she was a “good girl” and “she doesn’t cry for me,” Maybanks said. But then there was testimony from others who showed a different side of Parmer.
A daycare teacher said Parmer came in to check on Kamryn and referred to her as a brat, saying she had to discipline Kamryn because her dad didn’t. In a text to a former boyfriend, Parmer told him Kamryn was the “most obnoxious kid in the world” and was “ending us (her and Schlitter).”
Then Parmer’s former boyfriend/co-worker Tim Sprous said Parmer told him she “took the life of an 18-month-old” and friend/co-worker Heather Meyers said Parmer told her “I might have killed a kid.”
“Heather Meyers was her friend,” Maybanks said. “She didn’t have any reason to say that, except that’s what happened.”
Kamryn stayed with Parmer March 7 and 15 and had bruises after those weekends. She had bruises on her forehead and cheeks, and her behavior started changing during this time. She started having symptoms of abuse – she was sleepy and lethargic, loss of energy and appetite, and she started pulling out her hair.
“Kamryn was exhibiting signs of emotional distress,” Maybanks said.
Parmer was in the custody and control of Kamryn March 21, 2010 when she became unresponsive and started posturing.
All the medical experts in this case said there were two head injuries, an older one which happened weeks before and a recent event which occurred hours to days of the 911 call.
Johnston said all the evidence points to Schlitter who inflicted Kamryn’s injuries. He never implicated Parmer, even when the police were pressuring him and almost got a confession from him.
Schlitter admitted to getting frustrated with Kamryn March 20, 2010 when she vomited and then the next day when he told her to stop crying and put her in timeout, Johnston said. Schlitter took her into a bedroom and Parmer said she didn’t see what happened.
Johnston said Parmer only spent about eight hours with Kamryn that month and she can’t account for the others who cared for Kamryn in March.
He told jurors to disregard Sprous’ testimony because he’s a “convicted felon” and Meyers vaguely remembered Parmer’s remarks to her, Johnston said.
“Amy Parmer is here because of the life she has led and the men she has chosen, not because she has murdered child,” Johnston said. “That’s ridiculous.”
Maybanks on rebuttal said Parmer may have been around Kamryn before March but that’s when she took the child into her home and had control, along with Schlitter. He told jurors to look at the nights Parmer put Kamryn to bed and she had bruising the next day.
Maybanks also asked the jurors to look at the text messages which show how Schlitter and Pamer were “cautiously protecting” each other, and Parmer repeatedly asked if he still supported and loved her after police began focusing on both of them.
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