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An Indiana woman has been found guilty by a jury of strangling her 10-year-old stepdaughter to death.
The Grant County jury deliberated about three hours Friday afternoon before finding Amanda Carmack of Gas City guilty of murder, strangulation, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and domestic battery resulting in death to a person under 14.
The jury will reconvene Monday to consider whether Carmack should be sentenced to life in prison without parole, WANE-TV reports.
Police found Skylea Carmack’s body in a shed in September 2019. She had last been seen that Aug. 31. Days later, Carmack admitted to strangling the girl to death in a shed behind the family’s home. The body was found stashed in plastic trash bags in the shed.
Carmack admitted to killing Skylea after becoming irate that she'd taken another child's charm bracelet, leading to the woman “choking her with her hands” before “she tied something around her neck,” according to a probable cause affidavit previously obtained by Oxygen.com.
During the trial, prosecutor Evan Hammond told the jury that Carmack tried to unsuccessfully strangle Skylea with her bare hands before wrapping a pair of jeans around her neck to take her life, WANE reports.
Carmack and Skylea were working in the backyard when she realized the girl "had taken a charm bracelet from one of the other children in the home,” according to the probable cause statement.
Six other children lived in the home, but Skylea was the only one to whom Carmack had no blood relation. Three of those children are hers; the other three were the kids of her brother, according to the probable cause statement. Skylea was the biological daughter of Carmack's husband.
Carmack began slapping Sylea across the face with an open hand before she started choking the girl. The victim's siblings told police in 2019 that Carmack was a “strict disciplinarian” who physically abused them, forcing them to face a wall for hours as well as whipping them with a pink belt, according to the probable cause statement.
Carmack’s first trial ended in a mistrial in November after several people involved in the case tested positive for COVID-19. While in 2019, the stepmother said she wanted to represent herself, she had an attorney for the trial. Her lawyer, David Payne, argued during the most recent trial that the murder wasn't premeditated and that Carmack was suffering from depression and escalating migraines.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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