By Patti Weaver
(Stillwater, Okla.) — Shockingly deplorable conditions assailed authorities when they went inside a feces-filled, urine-soaked, bug-infested trailer in Stillwater where three children were living with three adults, six dogs and three cats, court records allege.
“The foul odor inside was unbearable. The air was thick and musty which made breathing difficult,” Stillwater Police Detective Sgt. Sherae LeJeune, who went there with a welfare worker in March regarding a child sexual abuse investigation, alleged in an affidavit filed last week with additional charges of child neglect.
“We could not complete the walk-through without taking breaks outside for fresh air. I noticed there actually was carpet in the living room. It was saturated with so much urine and feces and walked all over that it was smashed down to a hard surface. My boots stuck to the flooring.
“It was impossible to avoid stepping in dog feces throughout the home. There was old and fresh feces everywhere. There were several sticky fly traps hanging from the ceilings which were covered with bugs.
“I noticed there were bags of food hanging from the ceiling as well, which I later learned was to keep rodents and bugs from getting to it,” the sergeant alleged in her affidavit.
When investigators first arrived, the two oldest children and the adult couple were not there, but the man’s mother and the couple’s youngest child, then 18 months, were inside the trailer, the affidavit alleged.
The bedroom that a 4-year-old girl and a one-year-old boy shared had “exposed nails sticking out of the bed frame. There were no toys in the room. The walls were smeared with feces. It was obvious the children smeared the feces because of the size of the handprints.
“Some of the smears reached up to the ceiling on the west wall. I later learned that there used to be a bunk bed along that wall,” that the man tore down the top portion of in a fit of rage because the boy had jumped off of it. In the southwest corner, there was a remarkable amount of rodent feces in a three-square foot area,” the sergeant alleged in her affidavit.
Steven Zackariah Kittle, 35, was arrested when the couple arrived home, the affidavit said. Kittle was charged in March with sexually abusing the 4-year-old girl while a then-2-year-old boy was in the same room and jailed on $100,000 bail. Kittle’s total bail was increased to $150,000 when three additional charges of child neglect were filed against him last week. If convicted of all charges on which he is scheduled to have an Aug. 31 preliminary hearing, Kittle could be given as much as five life prison terms.
His wife, Lindsey Nichole Pratt, 26, also known by the surname of Kittle, and his mother, Robin Jean Kittle, 59, were also charged last week with three counts of child neglect. They were arrested on June 25 and jailed on $30,000 bail each pending a July 6 court appearance. “They all have been living together since October of 2020,” the affidavit alleged.
“Lindsey walked to (the older children’s) bedroom. She noted that there were holes in the walls because Steven has anger issues. She pulled a screwdriver out of the wall and stated she did not know why it was there. She noted that the walls were smeared with feces because she had not had time to clean it up. I was aware that (the 4-year-old) disclosed her parents locked her and (the boy) in the bedroom,” the sergeant alleged in her affidavit.
The three children were taken into custody of the state Department of Human Services; three of the dogs were turned over to animal welfare, the affidavit said.
“Their social and verbal skills were lacking for their ages. (The two oldest children) communicated by pointing and grunting. They still used pull-ups and were not potty-trained due to no guidance and inconsistent access to a bathroom. They showed signs of nutritional deficiencies and food scarcity.
“(The youngest baby) had deformities in both legs and a dead roach was removed from her ear canal,” the affidavit alleged.
When Steven Kittle was interviewed by Detectives Mary Kellison and Stephanie Wheeler in March, he admitted to performing multiple acts of sexual assault on the 4-year-old girl while in his care in January, the affidavit alleged.
“Steven said he knew his house was a ‘pig sty,’ and they had slacked on cleaning it. He acknowledged that the brown spots on the wall were feces. He described it as ‘caveman drawings’ and said the children play in their feces a lot.
“Robin noted in her interview that they had the new laminate flooring since August of 2022 that had not been installed. Steven said he caused the holes in the walls. He said he has anger issues, and he would rather hit walls than people.
“Through interviews with Lindsey and Robin, it was discovered (the two oldest children) were confined to their bedroom for 20 hours a day, every day, for the past year. When left in the care of Steven, he locked their bedroom door preventing them from leaving.
“They reasoned it was unsafe for the children to leave the room due to the conditions of the home and the six dogs that roamed freely. They all mentioned that (the 4-year-old girl) would raid the refrigerator for food if they did not lock the bedroom door overnight.
“Steven, Lindsey and Robin repeatedly stated they planned on changing their living conditions and offered many excuses of why they never did.
“Steven was not employed. He spent most days in his bedroom playing video games or sleeping. When he was responsible for the supervision of the children, he opted to lock them in their bedroom. Both Lindsey and Robin disclosed that Steven would erupt in a fit of rage if they unlocked the children’s bedroom door, opened the door, or attended to them in any way other than providing necessary food and drink to sustain life.
“As a result, they lacked adequate nurturance, affection, food, sanitary environment and necessary medical attention. Most grievously, Steven sexually assaulted (the 4-year-old girl) in the presence of the (then one-year-old boy) while under his supervision,” the sergeant alleged in her affidavit filed last week.