Sentencing judge to Littlefield: Children ‘in a safer place without you’ 


A Sheridan woman accused of poisoning her ex-boyfriend’s oatmeal with fentanyl before strangling him to death with his favorite necktie has been sentenced to 115 years in prison. 

A jury in Hamilton County found Heidi Marie Littlefield, 42, guilty Aug. 23 on one count of murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder in the January 2021 death of Francis Kelley, a Carmel resident and father of one of her children. 

CIC COM 0330 Homicide Littlefield

At the Oct. 7 sentencing hearing, prosecutors asked for an 85-year sentence, stating they weren’t clear if the law allowed sentences for all three counts in this case to be served consecutively. Casati ruled that they could, and he also ordered Littlefield to have no contact with Kelley’s two children, which includes Littlefield’s 3-year-old daughter. 

“Due to your depravity and the danger this court finds you pose to the community, including your children, and including the two remaining fathers of your children that are alive today, the court believes your children are better off to be protected from you rather than by you,” Casati said. “They are in a safer place without you.” 

His comments echoed statements made by two of Littlefield’s older daughters at the hearing, including Alexis Runyon, Littlefield’s adult daughter who is helping to raise her 3-year-old half-sister at her Carmel home. 

“I think there is a negative effect to not having a mother, but when it comes to your mother being Heidi, you’re better off without,” Runyon said. 

Courtney Nugent, the mother of Kelley’s daughter who was in third grade at the time of the murder, gave a victim impact statement, several times asking, “What do you say to an evil person who wanted to destroy your life?” 

She accused Littlefield of seeking to destroy relationships and said her actions have led to ongoing trauma for her and Kelley’s daughter. 

“Your children get to visit you on Mother’s Day, write you a card, send you a letter – even if they spew vitriol at you, they get to do it,” Nugent said. “(My daughter) will live forever knowing what she has lost, unlike your daughter, who will never have a memory of him.” 

Also during the hearing, Littlefield’s mother, Karin Molin, told the judge she believes her daughter “will make positive and uplifting changes in her life” if given the chance. She said her 3-year-old granddaughter talks about wanting her mom to come home to give her a hug.

“She has not forgotten who her mommy is,” Molin said. “She needs her mommy in her life.” 

Littlefield, who was pregnant with her sixth child at the time of the murder, remained stoic throughout the hearing, occasionally looking at those on the stand as they addressed her or described how she impacted their lives. 

Before the sentence was announced, Littlefield maintained her innocence in an allocution statement. 

“I did not have anything to do with this in any way, shape or form,” she said.

Littlefield’s attorneys asked the judge to sentence their client to concurrent sentences totaling 50 years, pointing out that she did not have a criminal record before Kelley’s murder. Before handing down the sentence, Casati acknowledged Littlefield’s lack of criminal history but said it did not outweigh several aggravating factors. 

Kelley was found dead in his Carmel home in January 2021, three days after he stopped responding to text messages and other communications. Kelley and Littlefield had been involved in a custody dispute over their then-2-year-old daughter. 

An autopsy revealed that Kelley died of asphyxia due to manual strangulation/neck compression. He had blunt force trauma to the head and injuries on his hand, elbow and knees. Toxicology results revealed high levels of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, in his system.

Littlefield’s daughter, Logan Marie Runyon, testified against her mother in the trial as part of a plea agreement. She was charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder for her role in the crime and is serving a 26-year sentence. Logan Runyon’s boyfriend, Robert James Walker, is also in prison after accepting a plea deal in exchange for testifying against Littlefield during her trial.