15 years prison sentence for woman guilty of killing her infant

Harrisburg, Ark. – A woman was sentenced to 15 years in prison for the unmentionably cruel death of her one-month-old infant child, a press release said Saturday.

Jessica Thomason and Keith L. Chrestman prosecuted 28-year-old Tyra McKellar for the 2018 scalding death of her one-month-old child. After a three-day trial, a Poinsett County jury Friday found McKellar guilty of manslaughter and abuse of a corpse. And Circuit Judge Cindy Thyer followed the jury’s recommendation and sentenced McKellar to 15 years’ imprisonment.

On 29 May 2018, local law enforcement responded to a report in rural Poinsett County of possible infant death. Officers arrived at the McKellar residence and found the corpse of a one-month-old baby that someone had discovered in a clothes dryer. Medical examiners identified scalding burns over at least one-half of the infant’s body, determined that these burns caused the child’s death, and concluded that homicide was the manner of death.

Testimony at trial revealed that shortly before the infant’s death, McKellar had been using methamphetamine.

Thomason thanked the jury for their service and the Cash Police Department, the Poinsett County Sheriff’s Office, and the Arkansas State Police for their investigation.

Prosecuting Attorney Keith L. Chrestman praised lead counsel and underscored the importance of this case: “Thomason is a seasoned trial lawyer, and in this important case, she successfully used those skills. And here we saw the tragic consequences when parents of small children use methamphetamine.”

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