(OWEN CO.) - The Indiana Supreme Court has issued a courtroom management and decorum order to be followed by the media and others attending a February 27 court hearing in Owen County Circuit Court in the sentencing of 23-year-old Kyle Parker, who plead guilty to kidnapping and killing 14-month-old Shaylyn Ammerman in March 2016.
"This case has generated substantial public interest and media attention. In light of this interest, the court has set forth rules of conduct and guidelines designed to govern the expectations of the people involved in the hearing and those observing the hearing so that the decorum of an open court will be maintained throughout the proceedings," says a ruling signed Thursday by Owen Circuit Judge Lori Thatcher Quillen.
"Any person or organization who violates this order will be subject to the discipline of the court, including contempt and exclusion from the courtroom."
The sentencing hearing for Parker is set for 10:30 a.m. on Monday, February 27.
According to Owen County Prosecutor Donald VanDerMoere, Parker provided a factual basis to the kidnapping and murder of the toddler.
A medical examiner said in court documents it was "the worst case of sexual trauma she had seen in her career."
The guilty plea comes after a negotiated plea agreement between Prosecutor VanDerMoere and Parker's attorney Jacob Fish.
Under the plea agreement, Parker would agree to plead guilty to first-degree murder and kidnapping. All additional charges against Parker would be dismissed, including rape, child molesting, strangulation, aggravated battery, obstruction of justice, and failure to report a dead body.
Parker was at the Ammerman home the night Shaylyn disappeared. Her family reported her missing Wednesday, March 23 at 9 a.m. Her father says his mother put Shaylyn to bed late Tuesday but when they woke up in the morning, she was gone.
Police arrested Parker the next day after they found the toddler's body near the White River in Gosport. An autopsy showed the girl died from asphyxiation.
In exchange for the guilty plea, Parker, of Spencer, will be sentenced to 60 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections. That agreement is now under the advisement by Judge Quillen. She can either accept the plea or reject it and set the matter for trial.
The plea agreement has caused some to protest the agreement, citing Prosecutor Vandermoere vowed after Parker's arrest to seek a sentence of life in prison without parole. VanDeMoere has refused to comment on why he signed off on the plea agreement offering Parker a lesser sentence.
Everyone entering the courthouse that morning will be subject to a metal detector search upon entering the building. Media representatives must apply for press credentials in advance, and will be directed to sit in a designated part of the courtroom. Seats will be reserved for family members as well.
"All reserved seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis," the order states. "Groups will be directed to their respective seating areas. Unoccupied seats in the courtroom may be given to the general public if the court determines it appropriate in the court's discretion."
Seating is limited and no one will be allowed to stand during the hearing. Once seating is full, no one else will be allowed to enter the courtroom. Anyone that leaves the hearing will not be allowed to return to the courtroom unless it is a designated break ordered by the judge.
Broadcasting, televising, recording and taking photographs will be prohibited. Any violation will result in the item being confiscated and erased and violators will be escorted from the courtroom.
No interviews will be allowed in the courthouse and must be conducted outside of the building. The judge and other members of the court staff will not respond to requests for comments or interviews at any time during the hearing.
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