Charges against a former Oxford resident accused of killing her 7-month-old daughter, Jesslinn Hulett, in 2018 have been dismissed due to insufficient evidence, although investigation in the case will continue, according to the Sumner County prosecutor.
Sumner County Attorney Larry L. Marczynski II said in a statement that a thorough review of the case file with his chief deputy led him to conclude there isn’t enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Shelby Johnson committed second degree murder.
Because the case is dismissed without prejudice, it can be heard in court again at a later date.
Marczynski said the decision was not made lightly. One major issue was a Kansas Appeals Court ruling that he said effectively suppressed evidence critical for the state to prove the case.
“The Office of the County Attorney will continue to work with the Wellington Police Department and the Sumner County Sheriff to find and pursue any additional investigatory leads in an effort to seek justice for Baby Jesslinn,” said Marczynski.
According to sumnernewscow.com, the important evidence that became inadmissible was a conversation in which Johnson’s boyfriend at the time allegedly blamed Johnson for the baby’s death. A neighbor had reportedly overhead Schuyler Hulett yell at Johnson and accuse her of killing Jesslinn. But at the preliminary hearing, Hulett said that he believed Johnson killed the baby but had never witnessed Johnson hurting the child, according to the sumnernewcow.com.
Jesslinn was taken to the Sumner Regional Medical Center on April 5, 2018 after she was discovered not breathing in her mother’s boyfriends’s home in Wellington. She was later transferred to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, where she was pronounced dead.
An autopsy report for Jesslinn said the infant died from blunt force trauma to the head and classified the death as a homicide. Johnson was released from custody in 2019 on a $100,000 bond to live in Arkansas City with a monitoring device, according to newscow.net. She was pregnant at that time. It is unclear where she resides today.