SPENCER, Ind. – The man who killed Shaylyn Ammerman was sentenced to 60 years in prison Monday.
The sentencing was the result of a plea agreement for Kyle Parker, who pleaded guilty to murder and kidnapping in the 14-month-old girl’s death. In exchange for the guilty plea, rape and several other charges were dismissed, in addition to a life without parole enhancement.
Once Parker serves his sentence, he’ll be required to register as a serious violent felon. He will not, however, be required to register as a sex offender. The sentence included 60 years for murder and 16 years for kidnapping, with those sentences being served concurrently and fully executed.
During the sentencing, the judge called Parker’s actions “pure evil” and “gut-wrenching.”
“You, Mr. Parker, have no moral compass,” Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen said.
After pronouncing judgment, the judge said, “Sheriff, you can now get him out of my courtroom.”
The judge lamented that the death penalty and life without parole were off the table before ultimately accepting the plea agreement.
“You took my loving, sweet, beautiful daughter away from me,” Jessica Stewart, Shaylyn’s mother, told the court during the sentencing hearing.
“When I heard all the horrible things (Parker) did to my precious girl I wanted to die too,” said Justin Ammerman, the little girl’s father.
Both asked the court to accept the plea agreement to spare the family from a long, painful trial. Justin Ammerman told the court he was in favor of the plea deal even though he would’ve liked Parker to be convicted on all charges and serve more time. Owen County Prosecutor Don VanDerMoere and Parker’s attorney, Jacob Fish, also asked the court to accept the agreement.
During the hearing, ISP Master Trooper Stacey Brown testified that a plea bargain was necessary because the witnesses who would have been called to testify came with baggage that Parker’s attorneys could have impeached. Two of three witnesses who took polygraphs failed. Some of the witnesses had pornography and child pornography on their computers that would have hampered the case.
Brown also said he found Parker would likely die in prison due to a shorter life expectancy. He told the court Parker wouldn’t get special treatment.
VanDerMoere said there were several factors that made it difficult to bring the case to trial, including a lack of DNA evidence.
Shaylyn disappeared in March 2016. Parker had been over at her father’s home in Spencer for a night of drinking. He took her from her bed and drove to rural Owen County, where he assaulted and killed her.
He tried blaming other people for the murder but finally confessed to his stepfather, who informed police. Information from Parker helped investigators find the girl’s body next to a tree near Gosport on March 23, 2016.
In court Monday, prosecutors thanked Parker’s stepfather and said their case “wouldn’t be nearly as strong” without it.
Prosecutors said Parker smothered the girl and strangled her before dumping her body. A medical examiner called the trauma to her body the “worst case of sexual trauma” she had seen in her career.