NORMAN — First-degree murder charges were filed in Cleveland County District Court Thursday against a Norman man after a 23-month-old child left in his care died.
Prosecutors allege Jeremy Robert Howard, 25, caused the death of Kiyla Rose Hosler.
Norman Police Capt. Tom Easley said officers responded to a report of an unresponsive child at 1917 Twisted Oak Drive, apartment C, at 8:40 p.m. on April 11. The girl died after transport to Norman Regional Hospital.
Howard was arrested and booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center on April 12.
Investigators allege Howard was Hosler’s sole caretaker at the residence, and while under his care she sustained a variety of injuries.
According to the affidavit filed with the charges, Hosler was found to have numerous abrasions to the front of her head, water in her lungs and blood in her stomach. She was also diagnosed with a possible skull fracture as well as having a month old broken leg in a cast.
During an interview with police at the hospital, according to the affidavit, Howard admitted to throwing Hosler in the air, striking the back of her head with his steel toed boot and throwing her face-down, into the corner of a couch. He then went without checking her welfare for 30 minutes.
“After he found her in distress he attempted to resuscitate her by pouring water in her mouth, attempted to call the child’s mother and then eventually called 911,”the affidavit reads.
District Attorney Greg Mashburn said it is believed Howard is in a relationship with Hosler’s mother, Amanda Hosler. Court records show Howard and Amanda residing at the same address.
Howard may receive one of three punishments, life with parole, life without parole or death, Mashburn said. The sought form of punishment will be determined after more evidence is reviewed and after speaking with the family.
Mashburn said it is undetermined if any other parties will be charged with Kiyla’s death.
This is not the first time Mashburn has had to prosecute a child abuse murder case, he said.
“It tends to be a boyfriend to the mom or someone outside, a family member. Other times it’s not, but that seems to be the case more often than that,”he said. “Obviously, it’s a very unfortunate situation for those children who can’t defend themselves to be ... abused like that.”
To those suspicious a child is being abused, Mashburn advised acting quickly.
“You always have to call the police. It’s not just should you, you have the duty to. If you suspect it, call the police,” he said. “Officers are well trained, they know what to look for and they can refer to DHS or other services to come step in. If the child is being abused, they can step in and get the child to a safer environment.”