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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sirens & Gavels

Appeal denied in Summer Phelps case

An appeal by a man sentenced to 75 years in prison for the torture death of his young daughter has been denied.

 Attorneys on behalf Jonathan D. Lytle appealed Superior Court Judge Michael Price’s decision that Lytle was able to understand and assist in his own defense.

But appellate judges from the Division III Court of Appeals ruled today that Price had legal justification for his ruling and affirmed Lytle's conviction of homicide by abuse.

A jury convicted Lytle in late 2008 of killing his 4-year-old daughter, Summer Phelps, on March 10, 2007.

Adriana L. Lytle, the girl’s stepmother, pleaded guilty and received a sentence of about 62 years.

Over six months in 2006 and 2007, Summer was beaten, bitten, shocked with a dog collar, burned with cigarettes, denied food and dunked in cold water after being forced to stand in a bathtub for hours washing urine-soaked clothes.

Doctors later testified that it was the worst case of child abuse they had ever seen. The girl’s death caused state officials to revamp the system that tracks abuse cases.

Public safety news from the Inland Northwest and beyond.