Shawnee woman convicted in toddler son’s death sentenced to 3 years probation

Karlie Phelps and young Nicholas Ecker
Karlie Phelps and young Nicholas Ecker(KCTV5 News)
Published: Oct. 6, 2022 at 12:34 PM CDT
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SHAWNEE, Kan. (KCTV) - Karlie Phelps was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in the February death of her young child.

On Thursday morning, Johnson County District Court Judge Timothy McCarthy sentenced her to 36 months of probation. She was initially sentenced to 216 months in prison, but Phelps’ request for dispositional departure was granted.

Phelps pleaded guilty to the charges Aug. 18.

Crews responded at 12:54 a.m. on Feb. 13 to a house on West 69th Terrace near Larsen Lane and found the single-family home engulfed in flames. While searching the house, firefighters found a young child’s body in a crib in a downstairs bedroom, according to court documents.

An autopsy revealed the toddler was still alive as the fire raged, as indicated by his lungs being “full of soot,” according to the medical examiner. The child suffered severe burns throughout his body.

Shortly after the fire, the child’s father---also named Nicholas Ecker---was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and aggravated arson.

Ecker’s next court hearing is set for Sept. 21 at 11 a.m. in Johnson County. He remains in the Johnson County jail on a $1.1 million bond.