SHAWNEE, Kan. — A Shawnee woman may avoid jail time for the role she played in the death of her son.
A Johnson County judge sentenced 28-year-old Karlie Phelps to 18 years in prison. She previously pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment charges stemming from the fire that killed her 17-month-old son.
In a clarification, the Johnson County District Attorney’s office said that while a judge sentenced Phelps to prison, the judge also granted Phelps’ request for dispositional departure. With that request, Phelps will serve three years of probation instead of prison time.
If Phelps violates any of the terms of her probation she will serve the remainder of her sentence in prison.
According to court documents, Shawnee police responded to a fire at a home near West 69th Street and Switzer Road in February.
Firefighters said Phelps and the toddler’s father, Nicholas Ecker, arrived at the house after firefighters.
Phelps arrived at the scene, and court documents say a law officer overheard her say, “I lit it, no I know I put it out. That would be an accident,” before blaming Ecker for the fire.
Investigators obtained cell phone records that show Ecker and Phelps texted back and forth during the time of the fire.
Charging documents show records for Ecker’s cell phone put it less than a mile from the house at the time of the fire.
Phelps admitted in a later interview that she was at someone’s house in Wyandotte County and left her 17-month-old son home alone.
Ecker is charged with first-degree murder and arson in the crime. He pleaded not guilty to the charges in August. He is scheduled to be back in court in December.