Toddler's father pleads not guilty to murder

Bond reduced to $100,000

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A 24-year-old Cedar Rapids father suspected of killing his 17-month-old daughter last year pleaded not guilty Friday to first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death.

Also, a District Court judge lowered Zyriah Schlitter’s bond from $500,000 to $100,000 despite arguments from Assistant Linn County Attorney Nick Maybanks, who said Schlitter has “contemplated taking his own life to be with the victim.”

“He’s facing life in prison and a life of public repudiation,” Maybanks told Judge Marsha Beckelman. “He has all the reason in the world to disappear, and it’s the state’s opinion that this is a crime of a nature and severity that has a significant flight risk.”

But Beckelman agreed to lower Schlitter’s bond and give him the option of paying 10 percent of the $100,000 cash or surety bond to leave jail, based on his lack of criminal history, his family ties to the community, the fact that he has a job waiting for him and because he cooperated with authorities during a lengthy investigation into his suspected involved in Kamryn Schlitter’s death.

Schlitter and his ex-girlfriend Amy Parmer, 27, of Hiawatha, were arrested June 21 on suspicion of first-degree murder and child endangerment resulting in death nearly 15 months after Kamryn Schlitter died of head trauma on March 28, 2010.

Both Schlitter and Parmer originally were booked into the Linn County Jail on $1 million bonds, but a judge agreed two days later to lower their bonds to $500,000, and Parmer’s bond was dropped to $100,000 last week.

Parmer was allowed to pay 10 percent of the $100,000 cash or surety bond, and she posted the amount Monday. She is under supervision of the Department of Corrections pending her trial, and Schlitter will be under the same supervision if he posts the $10,000.

He was still at the Linn County Jail as of 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Schlitter’s defense attorney, Thomas Gaul, had asked the judge Friday to lower his client’s bond to $50,000 based on his previously clean record, family ties and employment status.

“The state investigated this case for a year, and he cooperated with police,” Gaul said. “He was under no kind of restraint, and he stayed here. He didn’t flee.”

Schlitter appeared in court Friday with his attorney but didn’t speak. His family members sat behind him in the courtroom and appeared somber. One of them carried a bag decorated with pictures of Kamryn, and another waived and said, “Bye Zyriah,” as he left the courtroom.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the case, Schlitter and Parmer had exclusive care and custody of Kamryn from March 1 to March 21, 2010. The toddler died at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City a week after paramedics found her suffering from seizure-like symptoms at 245 Clymer Rd. in Hiawatha.

Workers at a day-care center noticed bruising to her face March 8 and March 15, and makeup appeared to be covering the mark the first time it was noticed, according to the complaint.

Investigators suspect that Schlitter and Parmer either together or individually inflicted Kamryn’s fatal injuries, allowed the other person to abuse the girl or failed to protect her, according to the complaint. They both made statements indicating that they knew about Kamryn’s injuries and were frustrated with caring for her, the complaint alleges.

Kamryn suffered her “final, life threatening, intentionally inflicted and fatal injuries” during the last 72 hours of her life while already in a weakened and deteriorated state of health, according to the complaint.

The pair hasn’t offered a reasonable medical explanation as to how Kamryn suffered her injuries, the complaint states.

Parmer and Schlitter were named as defendants in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed in March by Kamryn’s mother, Nicole King. But King last week dropped that lawsuit, in which she accused them of “beating and abuse” that led to her daughter’s death.

King has not given a reason for dropping the lawsuit.

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