Father accused of killing his daughter says he didn't suspect child abuse

Closing arguments Wednesday

Trish Mehaffey
Published: December 18 2012 | 3:45 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 3:30 am in
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CEDAR RAPIDS - Zyriah Schlitter said Tuesday he wasn’t concerned about the bruising on his 17-month-old daughter Kamryn because she was an active toddler and he thought they were just the normal bumps and bruises most children experience.

Schlitter, who is accused of killing Kamryn, said he took his daughter to the doctor when she was sick with pink eye and an ear infection in early March 2010, he followed up with a nurse when her fever didn’t go down and he gave her the prescribed medicines.

He said in hindsight he realizes her symptoms, vomiting and sleepiness, were the result of a head injury, but at the time, he thought it was because of an ear infection.

“I never suspected child abuse,” Schlitter said.

Schlitter’s attorney put him back on the stand briefly Tuesday to clarify some things from Monday’s cross examination by the prosecution. In testimony Monday, Schlitter said he didn’t hurt his daughter and couldn’t imagine anyone else harming her, including his ex-girlfriend Amy Parmer, 29, who also is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death.

The defense rested after making another motion for an acquittal, which the judge denied, and there was no rebuttal from the prosecution. The judge dismissed the jurors early Tuesday so she and the attorneys could work on jury instructions.

Related: Replay Tuesday's live coverage

Closing arguments will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday and the jury will likely start deliberations before noon.

Schlitter, 25, of Cedar Rapids, is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. He is accused in the death of Kamryn who died March 28, 2010 of blunt force head trauma. Doctors testified last week that Kamryn’s non-accidental  injuries were a result of being shaken or slammed.

Tom Gaul, Schlitter’s attorney, asked him why he didn’t blame Parmer, even after they broke up, when investigators asked him who could have abused Kamryn.

“I’m not the type to crucify anyone without proof,” Schlitter said.

Schlitter said his opinion changed about Parmer after finding out she cheated on him while his child was in intensive care and when he learned she referred to Kamryn as a “brat” and that she may have put make-up on her to cover up bruises.

“Was it also because she told two different people she (may) have killed your child? Gaul said.

Schlitter said "Yes."

First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks said “didn’t you continue to talk to Parmer March 28, when Kamryn died, and after she died March 29, weren’t you talking about seeing a movie? Wasn't that a text message?”

Schlitter said he did.

Maybanks also asked if Kamryn had a follow up doctor’s appointment March 19, but it wasn't kept.

“That’s true,” Schlitter said.

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