CEDAR RAPIDS – Kamryn Schlitter was a happy, healthy 17-month-old who sometimes loved French toast for breakfast and dancing on a table but it all changed the last month of her life in March 2010.
Kamryn’s mother, Nicole King, 23, of Arkansas, who was tearful and emotional at times testified Wednesday Kamryn’s behavior changed, she stopped talking, stopped eating and one time became upset and ripped out her hair, after going to live with her father Zyriah Schlitter, who is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of Kamryn.
She initially blamed Schlitter’s girlfriend, Amy Jo Parmer, for hurting her daughter but after seeing her daughter’s injuries that opinion changed. Kamryn’s body had scratches and marks on her shoulders, arm and chest, which looked like they were made with fingernails.
First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks asked who she thought was responsible for the marks.
“Zyriah,” King said in a low, soft voice. “The marks looked like they were made by someone with nails. “She (Parmer) doesn’t have any nails.”
The prosecution continues its case 9 a.m. Thursday in Linn County District Court. Schlitter, 25, of Cedar Rapids, is 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.
Parmer, 29, of Hiawatha, is also charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. Her trial is set Jan. 14, 2013.
Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey also continues her live coverage from the courtroom where viewers can ask questions and provide comments.
King said she was concerned about Schlitter’s “short fuse” from early on in their relationship and how he dealt with Kamryn. He could lose his temper and his patience with Kamryn as times. She said they broke up in 2009 because of his anger issues.
She recalled some incidents where Schlitter would roughly pick her up and put her in timeout. King thought Schlitter was a loving and good father but she never left Kamryn with him for long periods of time before she went to temporarily live with him in March 2010 while King got settled in a new home.
King didn’t like her daughter being around Parmer because of the way she had seen Parmer deal with her own children. Parmer told her once that she “spanked her children so much that they were immune to it.” King said Parmer also called Kamryn a “spoiled brat” and said she had to discipline her because her father wouldn’t.
At the end of King’s testimony, Maybanks asked her Schlitter had tried to manipulate her testimony.
“Yes,” King said. “Two days ago he called and asked me to “back him up.” What I can I do? I can’t change evidence. I was told to tell the truth and I have tried to do that.”