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Archive for Saturday, July 20, 2002

Child-care provider convicted of murder

July 20, 2002

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— A child-care worker was convicted Friday of second-degree murder in the death of an infant who was one of 19 children in her Blue Springs home when the fatal injury occurred.

The case was unusual because prosecutors did not try to prove Phyllis Mullins actually struck 4-month-old Jacob McGinnis the day he died in her home.

Rather, they said she was guilty of Jacob's death because she put all the children in danger by taking so many of them into a dangerously crowded home.

Mullins was also convicted of 19 counts of child endangerment one count for each of the children police say were in her home when Jacob died on April 11, 2001.

The Jackson County medical examiner testified Jacob's injuries resulted from someone slamming the baby's head against a solid surface in Mullins' home.

Prosecutors built their case largely on the testimony of several parents and two boys, 7 and 8, who told of a home where children were made drowsy with antihistamine and 6-year-olds watched over babies.

Health department records showed complaints dating as far back as 1992 that Mullins repeatedly had too many children in her home. Investigators said she was deceiving parents by keeping many children out of view.

"I felt so naive," said one parent, Tara Lickteig. "So many of us were first-time parents."

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