Dismissed: 2018 case against Sumner County mom accused of killing her 7-month-old daughter is dropped


SUMNER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Shelby Johnson, the woman accused of killing her 7-month-old daughter Jesslinn Hulett in April 2018, is now free to move on. On Tuesday, Sumner County Attorney Larry L. Marczynski II shared details on the dismissal of that case and released the following statement:

“After careful review of the posture and prosecution of the case thus far, and thorough consideration of all the reports and evidence available in this case, I have determined that the State of Kansas lacks the sufficient evidence necessary to prove the case against Ms. Johnson beyond a reasonable doubt. As such I have decided to dismiss the matter without prejudice pending further investigation.

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Shelby Johnson, image courtesy of Sumner County Sheriff’s Office

This decision was not made lightly. Together with my chief deputy attorney, we carefully reviewed the file and the totality of the evidence. The prior County Attorney had filed an interlocutory appeal regarding the admissibility of evidence, and the Kansas Court of Appeals ruled against the State in State v. Johnson, Slip op. 122,243. This decision effectively suppressed evidence critical for the State to prove the case.

The Office of the County Attorney will continue to work with the Wellington Police Department and the Sumner County Sheriff to find and pursue any additional investigatory leads in an effort to seek justice for Baby Jesslinn.”

In August of 2018, Johnson was arrested for suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of 7-month-old Jesslinn Hulett. Jesslinn was found unresponsive on April 1, 2018. In May of 2018, authorities ruled her death as a homicide.

At the time, charges against Johnson included first-degree murder, murder by virtue of child abuse, murder by virtue of aggravated child endangerment, second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child endangerment. 

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