Cheyanne Jarrell (left) listens as her sentence of 27 months in prison is read during a hearing at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett on Wednesday. Jarrell was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the death of 4-month-old Kailynn Watson, whom she was babysitting in February 2016. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Cheyanne Jarrell (left) listens as her sentence of 27 months in prison is read during a hearing at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett on Wednesday. Jarrell was convicted of second-degree manslaughter in the death of 4-month-old Kailynn Watson, whom she was babysitting in February 2016. (Ian Terry / The Herald)

Babysitter gets 27 months in prison for death of 4-month-old

Unapologetic, Cheyanne Jarrell, 24, denies shaking baby Kailynn Watson and plans to appeal.

EVERETT — Cheyanne Jarrell pleaded with a Snohomish County judge Wednesday not to send her away from her young daughter.

“She’s my life,” the 24-year-old said.

He understands why a mother doesn’t want to be separated from her child, Superior Court Judge Michael Downes said. He also reminded Jarrell that she was standing in front of him because “a young mother did have her child taken away.”

The defendant is responsible for 4-month-old Kailynn Watson’s death, Downes said. He sentenced Jarrell to 27 months in prison, the maximum under the state’s sentencing guidelines.

“You were supposed to be taking care of her while her parents were at work … instead, you killed her,” Downes said.

In September, a jury convicted Jarrell of second-degree manslaughter after a three week trial. Jurors acquitted her of a more serious degree of manslaughter. She would have faced up to 8½ years behind bars if she’d been convicted of first-degree manslaughter.

Jarrell was babysitting 4-month-old Kailynn in February 2016 in Marysville when the girl stopped breathing. Kailynn was declared brain dead three days later. Multiple exams revealed a contusion on her spine, brain bleeding and retinal hemorrhages. Doctors concluded that the spinal injury paralyzed Kailynn’s diaphragm, depriving her of oxygen.

Prosecutors alleged that Jarrell, a new mother, became frustrated while watching her own infant daughter and Kailynn and shook the girl with enough force to damage her spine.

“Ms. Jarrell’s decision in that moment … is exactly why we’re here today,” deputy prosecutor Matt Baldock said. “It’s her fault.”

Jarrell has denied shaking the girl. The defense argued that there were other explanations for why Kailynn stopped breathing, including a virus.

The defendant maintained her innocence Wednesday and offered no apology to Kailynn’s family. She plans to appeal her conviction.

She and her defense attorney, Cassie Trueblood, urged the judge to spare the young mother from being separated from her daughter, now 2. The public defender requested a 30-day jail sentence.

Trueblood asked Downes to consider her client’s young age at the time of the incident, saying current research suggests that young people’s brains aren’t fully developed until the age of 25. She also argued against concluding that the jury’s verdict meant jurors believed Jarrell was responsible for the girl’s death.

“We don’t know why they acquitted her” of the more serious charge, Trueblood said.

The verdict indicated that jurors believed Jarrell failed to be aware that her actions could put the baby’s life in danger. They didn’t find that Jarrell disregarded those risks.

There is no evidence that something or someone else was responsible for Kailynn’s death, the judge said. She died at the hands of the young woman entrusted to care for her, and the defendant testified that she knew that mishandling a baby could lead to her death, Downes said.

“Kailynn was as vulnerable as a human being can get,” he said.

The judge said no matter what sentence he handed down, Kailynn’s family will never be whole again.

Kailynn would have turned 2 on Oct. 19, her father wrote in a letter. He has missed watching her learn to walk and learn to say, “mommy and daddy.”

While Kailynn was in the hospital, her parents prayed that God would let their daughter come home.

“I really thought and believed in spite of what was being said she would come home with us,” the girl’s mother wrote. “It’s my job to protect her. The one most important thing I failed in doing so.”

She wrote of not being able to comfort her other children, who’d been removed from their home during the initial investigation.

“Our children were taken from us. We were only allowed to have supervised visits, not allowed to be left alone with them,” she wrote.

The grieving mom wrote of not wanting to let go of her daughter’s crib, clothing or blanket and gathering at the cemetery on what would have been Kailynn’s first birthday.

“Our life as we knew it has been shattered and will never be the same,” she wrote.

The trial, she said, added to her pain. The defendant’s actions “were like dumping salt on my deep, deep everlasting wounds,” she wrote.

Kailynn’s parents asked that Jarrell not be shown any leniency. The sentence for the conviction isn’t long enough, they said.

Downes acknowledged that nothing he did would erase their heartache.

“Everywhere you look in every direction in this case people are in pain,” he said.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Cars move across Edgewater Bridge toward Everett on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, in Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edgewater Bridge redo linking Everett, Mukilteo delayed until mid-2024

The project, now with an estimated cost of $27 million, will detour West Mukilteo Boulevard foot and car traffic for a year.

Lynn Deeken, the Dean of Arts, Learning Resources & Pathways at EvCC, addresses a large gathering during the ribbon cutting ceremony of the new Cascade Learning Center on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2023, at Everett Community College in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New EvCC learning resource center opens to students, public

Planners of the Everett Community College building hope it will encourage students to use on-campus tutoring resources.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman announces his retirement after 31 years of service at the Everett City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Everett police chief to retire at the end of October

Chief Dan Templeman announced his retirement at Wednesday’s City Council meeting. He has been chief for nine years.

Boeing employees watch the KC-46 Pegasus delivery event  from the air stairs at Boeing on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019 in Everett, Wa. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Boeing’s iconic Everett factory tour to resume in October

After a three-year hiatus, tours of the Boeing Company’s enormous jet assembly plant are back at Paine Field.

A memorial for a 15-year-old shot and killed last week is set up at a bus stop along Harrison Road on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Teen boy identified in fatal shooting at Everett bus stop

Bryan Tamayo-Franco, 15, was shot at a Hardeson Road bus stop earlier this month. Police arrested two suspects.

Fatal 2-car crash closes Highway 99 in Lynnwood

Police closed off Highway 99 between 188th Street SW and 196th Street SW while they investigated.

Mike Bredstrand, who is trying to get back his job with Lake Stevens Public Works, stands in front of the department’s building on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, in Lake Stevens, Washington. Bredstrand believes his firing in July was an unwarranted act of revenge by the city. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Lake Stevens worker was fired after getting court order against boss

The city has reportedly spent nearly $60,000 on attorney and arbitration fees related to Mike Bredstrand, who wants his job back.

Chap Grubb, founder and CEO of second-hand outdoor gear store Rerouted, stands inside his new storefront on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Gold Bar, Washington. Rerouted began as an entirely online shop that connected buyers and sellers of used gear.  (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Used outdoor gear shop Rerouted finds a niche in Gold Bar

Seeking to keep good outdoor gear out of landfills, an online reselling business has put down roots in Gold Bar.

Naval Station Everett. (Chuck Taylor / Herald file)
Everett man sentenced to 6 years for cyberstalking ex-wife

Christopher Crawford, 42, was found guilty of sending intimate photos of his ex-wife to adult websites and to colleagues in the Navy.

Most Read