MARION, Ind. (WANE) — The Gas City woman convicted in the strangulation killing of her 10-year-old stepdaughter will spend the rest of her life in prison.
A jury on Monday decided that Amanda Carmack should serve life without parole in the murder of young Skylea, whose body was found in the family’s backyard shed in September 2019.
In opening statements, defense attorney David Payne said “life without parole is a moving train at full speed and his job is to stop it.” However, Prosecutor Evan Hammond said it does not need to stop because Carmack is the reason it was going.
Monday, the defense called four witnesses to the stand-including Carmack.
The tipping point happened during the cross examination. Prosecutor Scott Hunt asked Carmack about her killing Skylea. In part Carmack responded “things happen,” after that response the prosecutor was visibly frustrated.
It continued to get heated between Carmack and Prosecutor Hunt, as Carmack debated the prosecutor about marijuana laws, and how long the minimum sentence would be for her. When closing, the state brought this up, calling Carmack a smart aleck, combative and argumentative. They used this to support their argument that Carmack never cared about Skylea and deserves to spend the rest of her life in prison.
“The train kept going. Thank you to the jury and thank you to the prosecuting attorneys,” said Ashley Lopez, a former neighbor of Skylea’s and founder of the Skylea Carmack memorial foundation. “[I am] ecstatic and relieved, we have been waiting for this.”
Lopez reflected on the day Skylea was reported missing, she added that she always felt that Carmack was “off.”
“I was heartbroken because I as hoping I was wrong and I was hoping we were going to find her,” Lopez said. “We were just hoping she ran away. That day from until the day she confessed she had this blank look about her. You could tell her emotions were gone. She didn’t say ‘hi’, she didn’t make any contact. She kind of looked through you.
Carmack will be formally sentenced by a judge Sept. 15.
Skylea was reported missing in late August 2019. Days later, Carmack admitted to strangling the girl to death in a shed behind the family’s East South D Street home. Skylea’s body was found stashed in the shed, in plastic trash bags.
Grant County Prosecutor Evan Hammond reflects on trial
Last week, a jury convicted Carmack in the killing.