The Justice Files: Still no admission of guilt in infant’s death

Justice Files

Courtesy: Utah Dept. of Corrections

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – After four years, there is still no admission of killing baby Archer.

The infant died at the home where his biological mother, Marie Sullivan, and her boyfriend, Dylan Kitzmiller were living.

It was 2017 and a 911 call brought paramedics to the home.

Baby Archer was pronounced dead. The autopsy showed he died from a brain injury and had broken arms and ribs.

Sullivan and Kitzmiller were both charged with child homicide.

But in a plea deal, homicide charges were dropped against Sullivan but she admitted to child abuse and was sent to prison.

Meanwhile, a jury acquitted Kitzmiller of child homicide but found him guilty of child abuse. He too was sent to prison.

After two years in prison, they’ve become eligible for parole. They appeared separately before a member of the board of pardons.

“I am extremely sorry for my actions and that I also mourn the loss of my son every single day,” Sullivan said.

“I breastfed when I was high on heroin and that was not okay. I knew I was not ready to take care of a child and I selfishly, selfishly kept him anyway.”

During the virtual hearing, Sullivan said that at the time, she was hooked on heroin and refused to acknowledge baby Archer’s injuries.

“I kind of felt that I kind of lived a little bit in a fantasy world and I wasn’t ready to cope with the reality of anything that had happened in my life,” she said.

Sullivan still claimed it was Kitzmiller who caused baby Archer’s injuries. During his parole hearing which was a week later, he seemed evasive in his answers. But he denied any rough behavior with the infant.

Hearing officer: “Did you ever grab the baby by the shoulder and throw the baby up in the air?
Kitzmiller: “Yeah, it was like in a playful manner.”
Hearing officer: “Did you ever toss the baby back and forth between him?
Kitzmiller: “Yes, yes.”
Hearing officer: “Did you ever slap the baby in the face?”
Kitzmiller: “No.”

Baby Archer’s biological father also attended the parole hearing. He opposed her release claiming she’s manipulative and still strikes fear in him.

“I believe the crime she committed is the worst act of violence anyone can do and if she’s capable of that I don’t know what else she is capable of doing.”

While in prison, Kitzmiller got into trouble for using drugs and was criminally charged.

Sullivan has stayed out of trouble and claimed she’s learned valuable lessons in the classes she has taken while in prison.

“I am extremely sorry for my actions and that I also mourn the loss of my son every single day,” Sullivan said.

The entire board of pardons will review their cases and decide in the coming weeks whether they can be paroled.

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