Schlitter Testifies He Didn't Kill Daughter He "Loved Dearly"

By Trish Mehaffey, The Gazette

Zyriah Schlitter testifies as witness for the defense about the day his 17-month-old daughter Kamryn Schlitter died during his trial at the Linn County Courthouse in Cedar Rapids on Monday, December 17, 2012. Schlitter is accused of either individually or jointly, inflicted the fatal injuries to Kamryn, knowingly permitted the other co-defendant to abuse her and/or failed to protect the child from the co-defendant, Schlitter's ex-girlfriend Amy Jo Parmer who will stand trial in January. (Cliff Jette/KCRG TV9)

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By Adam Carros

CEDAR RAPIDS - Zyriah Schlitter became emotional as he took the stand Monday, talking about his daughter, the “bundle of joy” who he “loved dearly.”

Schlitter, who cried off and on throughout his testimony, said he remembers seeing 17-month-old Kamryn hooked up to tubes and a breathing machine when he first saw her March 21, 2010 at the hospital and didn't know what happened to her.

Schlitter denied anyone harming Kamryn, including himself as First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks aggressively cross-examined him.

“But you knew when Kamryn got to University of Iowa Hospitals that this wasn't an accident?” Maybanks asked. “That this was child abuse...you figured that out didn't you?”

Schlitter said “not entirely, no.”

Maybanks said didn’t doctors say these were inflicted injuries due to child abuse.

“Didn't mean, I believed them,” Schlitter said.

Schlitter will continue his testimony 9 a.m. Tuesday in Linn County District Court. The prosecution rested early Tuesday after one and half weeks of testimony. Closing arguments could start late Tuesday.

Schlitter also didn’t point the finger at ex-girlfriend Amy Parmer, who is also charged in Kamryn’s death. He said there was no proof that Parmer did anything. She was good with her children and he never imagined her hurting Kamryn, he said.

Schlitter seemed confused during some of Maybanks rapid fire questions about what happened to Kamryn and what he called discrepancies in his statements on the stand and to police during the investigation.

Maybanks said Schlitter had eliminated everybody but Parmer by the time Kamryn was in the hospital, including himself, Kamryn’s mother Nicole King and all the grandparents.

“At the time I couldn’t justify that Amy could do that,” Schlitter said.
Maybanks said doesn’t it look like “you are protecting Parmer?”

Schlitter said no, he didn’t have any proof.

“To an outside observer, wouldn't it look like you knew what she had done and she knew what you did?” Maybanks said.

Schlitter said “I suppose so.”

Schlitter said he didn’t notice the bruising on Kamryn until DHS contacted him. Kamryn had been sleepy, fussy and clingy at times for about two weeks but he attributed it to her ear infection. She ran a fever for a few days and he took her to the doctor and then called the nurse a few times after she didn’t get better.

Schlitter said the nurse never mentioned Kamryn’s bruises and neither did the daycare employees. He didn’t even notice them until DHS told him.

Tom Gaul, Schlitter’s attorney, said did DHS prevent you from picking up Kamryn from daycare after the complaint was made or express a concern about child abuse.

Schlitter said no.

Maybanks on cross pulled out an exhibit of photos of Kamryn where she had a bruise underneath her eye or a black eye but Schlitter said “I can hardly see it.”

Maybanks asked didn’t doctors testified last week that Kamryn had bruises on top of bruises.

“That’s what has been in testimony,” Schlitter said.

Maybanks showed him a photo of bruising on Kamryn but he said he couldn’t identify a compound bruise.

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