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Prosecutor Considering Death Penalty Charge Against Kyle Parker
Updated April 1, 2016 6:55 AM | Filed under: Crime
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(SPENCER) - Owen County Prosecutor Don VanDerMoere says he could make a decision on whether to pursue the death penalty in the Shaylyn Ammerman case within the next two months.

The case could go to trial as early as August.

Kyle Parker is charged with the 1-year-old's murder.

He is currently in solitary confinement and on a suicide watch at the Owen County Jail.

Assistant jail commander Marjie Ryan said it is standard practice to place inmates in solitary confinement and on suicide watch when they face charges "of this magnitude" and until they can be evaluated by medical professionals.

Indiana has 12 people on death row, but hasn't executed anyone since 2009.

In order for a case to qualify for the death penalty, it must meet at least one of 18 circumstances outlined by the general assembly. One of those circumstances is murder of a child.

The number of death penalty cases in Indiana has declined over the past five years.

"We used to average between 25 and 40 death penalty cases filed each year throughout the state," says Assistant Executive Director of the Indiana Public Defender Council Paula Sites. "Over the last ten years our average is actually fewer than two per year."

The cause of that - cost.

A 2010 report from the Legislative Services Agency found, on average, it costs more than ten times as much to prosecute a death penalty case to the end than a life without parole case.

"Only about one in five death penalty cases that are filed actually result in a death sentence," Sites says. "The rest are usually resolved by plea agreement, most often with a sentence of life without parole."

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