- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Cedar Rapids man convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment after his 17-month-old daughter died in 2010 was granted a new trial Friday by the Iowa Supreme Court, which concluded there was no evidence he personally inflicted injury on the child.

Kamryn Schlitter had noticeable bruises on her face in early March 2010 and again a week later. On March 21, she was transported by ambulance to a hospital with injuries doctors concluded were consistent with abuse, and she died March 28.

Prosecutors charged her father, Zyriah Schlitter, and his girlfriend, Amy Parmer, with murder and child endangerment resulting in death. At Schlitter’s trial in December 2012, a jury found him guilty of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment resulting in death.

While his defense attorney asked the court to overturn the manslaughter verdict, he failed to ask the court specifically to dismiss the child endangerment charge, which included the allegation that he used intentional force that resulted in bodily injury, the court said.

The justices concluded the evidence “does not reasonably support a finding either that Schlitter committed the violent acts or that he had sole care of her when the injuries were sustained.” They also said that they couldn’t conclude that a reasonable jury could find Schlitter inflicted the force on the child that resulted in her injuries.

“Such a finding could only be based on speculation. Speculation and conjecture cannot be used to support a verdict,” they wrote.

Parmer was convicted in 2014 on child endangerment resulting in death and involuntary manslaughter charges, and is serving a 50-year prison sentence.

The court said child endangerment charges can be brought against Schlitter in the new trial based on the theory that he should have known his daughter was at risk while in Parmer’s care.

A spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General’s office and Schlitter’s public defense attorney did not immediately return messages.

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