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‘Things Happen,’ Convicted Killer Said in Her Defense Just Before Jury Recommended Life in Prison for Death of 10-Year-Old Stepdaughter


Amanda Carmack (L) and Skylea Carmack (R)

An Indiana woman who was recently found guilty of murdering her stepdaughter by strangling the helpless girl to death with a bright pair of leggings should spend the rest of her life in prison, a jury recommended on Monday.

“Things happen,” Amanda Carmack, 34, said while taking the stand in a failed bid to escape her eventual legal fate.

Last week, a Grant County jury took all of three hours to find the defendant guilty after she was charged with a bevy of crimes related to the child’s death including murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death, domestic battery resulting in death to a person under the age of 14, and strangulation, according to local CBS affiliate WANE.

Reporter Briana Brownlee asked the convicted killer how she felt about the verdict as she left the courthouse late Monday morning. Carmack did not respond.

Skylea Carmack, 10, was murdered in late August 2019; she was last seen alive on the last day of that month.

Gas City Police and concerned community members frantically passed out flyers and conducted searches that were all for naught.

Less than one week later, Amanda Carmack had admitted to strangling the girl to death in a shed behind the family’s home.

According to a probable cause affidavit obtained by WANE, the stepmother was evasive when questioned about the girl’s disappearance and displayed “numerous signs of deception and distraught.”

“I don’t remember,” she told police when quizzed about whether she had anything to do with Skylea going missing. “It doesn’t matter.”

Pleading a lack of memory, the eventually convicted killer “remembers being on top of [the victim] in the barn while she was on her back,” the affidavit alleged. “She started choking her with her hands then she thinks she tied something about [Skylea’s] neck.”

“She wouldn’t explain why she had killed her other than she was very angry,” the court document went on to note.

“Did you kill Skylea?” a detective asked Amanda Carmack during her initial interview point-blank. At first, she just stared.

After the confession, Amanda Carmack led police to where she hid the girl’s body; Skylea’s corpse was found in the family’s shed–stuffed inside several plastic trash bags.

Police described a gruesome scene when they opened those bags: Skylea had “multi colored cloth pants,” (which were later identified during trial as leggings) in a knot “tied very tight” around her neck.

An autopsy determined that Skylea died of asphyxia via strangulation.

Amanda Carmack’s case was complicated and drawn out for more than half a year. She was originally tried last November but that proceeding was declared a mistrial after several jurors contracted COVID-19.

Her latest trial was a brief affair. A jury was seated by Tuesday of last week. The prosecution and the defense quickly moved through their cases and the defendant was found guilty by Friday afternoon.

Carmack is currently scheduled to be formally sentenced on Sept. 15.

[images: Amanda Carmack via Grant County Detention Center; Skylea Carmack via Indiana State Police]

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