SPENCER, Ind. -- It took only 45 minutes from start to finish for an Owen County judge to hear, and then rule, on a plea agreement for the man accused of murdering 1-year-old Shaylyn Ammerman last spring.
Owen County Prosecutor Don VanDerMoere explained that the deal -- which would see Kyle Parker sentenced to 60 years in prison, but not registered as a sex offender -- was "not what I wanted," but was the best possible outcome, due to problems with evidence and witnesses that could have threatened the case in front of a jury.
FULL STORY | Kyle Parker receives 60 years in prison for murder of Shaylyn Ammerman
Before Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen ruled, VanDerMoere called two witnesses to give impact statements: Shaylyn's parents, Jessica Stewart and Justin Ammerman.
Parker's defense attorney Jacob Fish called only one witness: Parker's own mother, Christine Patton.
Parker himself did not make a statement.
Read the full transcripts of the statements from all three witnesses, in addition to VanDerMoere's closing statement and Judge Quillen's sentencing statement, below:
Jessica Stewart, Shaylyn's mother:
"You took my loving, sweet and beautiful daughter away from me, her brother, her dad and everyone who loves her. I hope you live with your guilt and it torments you for the rest of your life."
Jessica Stewart also submitted a written victim impact statement to the court. Find that below:
"My name is Jessica Stewart, I am the mother of Shaylyn, the beautiful, smiling 14-month-old baby who was taken from us in a brutal and senseless way. Writing this feels surreal, like the last year has been a bad dream I can't up from, but it isn't a bad dream. This is now my reality.
A year ago, I was able to hug, kiss, feed, talk to and dance with my beautiful girl. It's hard to believe that so much can change in just one year. There's not a day that goes by or a minute that passes that I don't miss her and would give anything to hold her again but I can't, I'll never get that chance again. Shaylyn will never get the chance to start running, talking, start school, lose her first tooth, have her first crush, graduate, get married or have kids. At 14 ½ months old, her life was cut short tragically and in the most horrific way I could ever imagine. I still get images in my head of what all might have happened that night, wondering if she was crying for me to save her. I talk to her every day and tell her that I wish I wouldn't known, I wouldn't kept her home where she was ALWAYS safe with her brothers and I, I'm sorry I wasn't there to save her and I would trade places with her in a heartbeat if I could so she could have her life back.
Shaylyn is my only girl and her two older brothers looked out for her. Now they're scared that someone might take them like they took baby sissy from us. Her brothers will never know their sister other than by their brief memories with her, and the photos that hang on the walls. They will never get to teach her to play ball, to fish, or to drive a car. Instead, the memories of her now include all the things they wanted to do while she was missing to bring her home. But she never came home, and my boys are still struggling to understand why.
It's so hard to imagine how someone could be so brutal to such a sweet, beautiful and loving baby girl. She was always so happy and dancing and smiling. I don't understand how or why someone would want to take that beautiful little girl away from this world. She couldn't been anything she wanted when she grew up, why take that little light away?
I believe the person responsible for the horrific death of my baby girl deserves the maximum penalty, but that is not going to happen. The penalty he is facing now may provide some justice for Shaylyn and keep him from harming anyone else, but there is no penalty that can ever erase the devastation and loss or heal the trauma that has been inflicted on my family, especially her young brothers who have been emotionally, and psychologically harmed by the death of their baby sissy."
Justin Ammerman, Shaylyn's father:
"I Justin Ammerman, wish to express my feelings on the plea bargain with Kyle Parker. I am Shaylyn's father. She was my only child; the love of my life. When I found out that she had been murdered I wanted to find the person responsible and kill them. When I heard all the awful things he had done to my daughter, I wanted to die too. I could not believe anyone would want to let someone guilty of murder have a plea bargain.
Kyle, why did you do this to my baby girl? Please, Kyle, change your plea and admit that you hurt her and left her out in the cold and the bad weather. Please, judge, do the right thing and accept this plea."
Christine Patton, Kyle Parker's mother:
Parker's mother said the statement her family gave in March 2016 will be the only public statement they make about the case.
She asked that vandalism to her home and threats to her family stop.
"All along we've wanted nothing more than fair justice for everyone involved."
Owen County Prosecutor Don VanDerMoere:
"A lot of hay has been made in social media or the news about plea agreements, why they're bad, why they're good. The fact is, as a prosecutor, I'm responsible for finding the truth. Not what I want it to be.
The fact of the matter is: This is an appropriate resolution. It doesn't provide closure for everyone, but it's the best we can do. It's the functional equivalent of a life sentence for Kyle Parker. It's less than he deserves for what he's done. We have chosen to put him away for the rest of his life, because that's what he deserves.
Blame me that we don't have evidence. Blame me that we've got witnesses that are impeachable. But leave that family alone. Send him for 60 years to the department of corrections and let this be done. Your honor, I ask you to accept the plea deal in this case. It's not what I want, but it's the right thing that has to be done."
Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen:
"The facts of this case were the most gut-wrenching I have ever heard. Your actions were pure evil on that evening.
Many in this community rightfully wanted you to receive the death penalty or life without parole for this crime.
What I can legally do as a judge versus what I would like as a parent and member of this community are totally in conflict.
It's clear to me, based upon the gruesome facts of this case, that you, Mr. Parker, have no moral compass and no decency."