A former co-worker and boyfriend of Amy Parmer’s testified Monday she told him in April 2011 that he didn’t want to get involved with her because she “took the life” of a toddler.
Tim Sprous testified he, Parmer and another co-worker, Heather Meyers, went out drinking for Meyers’ birthday one night and Parmer became emotional talking about the death of Kamryn Schlitter, who died in 2010.
“She said I didn’t want to get involved with her because she was going away….she took the life of an 18-month-old,” Sprous said. “I asked her how and she said something about a head trauma.”
Sprous for the next hour, which became combative at times, had to defend his statements as Tyler Johnston, Parmer’s attorney, accused him of lying and taking revenge against Parmer over paternity of her son.
Monday started the second week of trial for Parmer, 29, of Hiawatha, who is charged with first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death. Parmer is accused in the death of her ex-boyfriend Zyriah Schlitter’s daughter, 17-month-old Kamryn Schlitter, who died from blunt force head injuries March 28, 2010.
Zyriah Schlitter, 25, of Cedar Rapids, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment resulting in death last December. He is serving 50 years in prison.
The defense claims Zyriah Schlitter inflicted Kamryn’s injuries and Parmer just babysat her.
The trial continues 9 a.m. Tuesday. Follow Gazette reporter Trish Mehaffey’s live coverage from the courtroom.
Johnston repeatedly questioned Sprous’ truthfulness on the stand.
“Amy Parmer doesn’t talk like that – ‘I took the life of an 18-month-old,’” Johnston said.
“That’s what I said,” Sprous fired back. “What do you mean she doesn’t talk like that?”
Johnston continued to pick at everything Sprous said until Sprous said at one point “I’m done. I’m not answering any more questions.” But 6th Judicial District Judge Marsha Beckelman told him he wasn’t done and he should continue to answer questions.
Johnston said Sprous, who’s been convicted on three or more felonies, only came forward with this story a year after the fact because it was part of his “extortion plan” against Parmer. He claimed Sprous was upset Parmer named him as a potential father of her son Caleb.
Sprous said he didn’t know about a “plan.” He said he was in court to do the right thing.
First Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks on re-direct asked again if he was telling the truth.
“Yes, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Sprous said before being excused.
In earlier testimony, three former daycare teachers at Apple Kids Daycare testified about bruising they saw on Kamryn Schlitter and what appeared to be make-up over the bruising.
Keri Sotelo, a former teacher, said on March 8, Kamryn had a bruise on her forehead, bruises on her cheeks and chapped lips or cuts on her lips. She went home sick that day and didn’t’ come back until March 15. That day, another teacher wiped off a “substance” from Kamryn’s face after her snack it appeared to be make-up and the marks on her face were more visible.
“She had more bruising on her face (on March 15) and chin,” Sotelo said. “She had a bloody nose.
Sotelo asked Zyriah Schlitter what happened to her and he said “She liked to beat herself up.”
Andrea Alt, a former teacher, said Parmer, who had her child at Apple Kids, came into Kamryn’s room that day and asked how “That little brat over there,” pointing to Kamryn, was doing.
Parmer said the injuries occurred when Kamryn was running around and fell and hit a table, and that a pack and play fell and hit her in the head.”
Alt said Parmer then said she was the one who disciplined Kamryn because her father didn’t. Alt said Parmer brought up the topic of discipline. They weren’t talking about it.
At the end of the day, flight nurses and doctors with St. Luke’s Hospital testified that Kamryn was in critical condition when she was brought in March 21, 2010. Kamryn was unresponsive, had shallow breathing, an abnormally low body temperature and she was posturing – involuntary contraction of the limbs which indicates head trauma.
Dr. Julie Beard, emergency room physician at St. Luke’s, said Kamryn also had retinal hemorrhaging, which indicated shaken baby syndrome – an acceleration-deceleration injury to the head or brain.