Judge approves trial of Springfield paramedics charged with murder in patient death – NBC Chicago

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Two Illinois health workers are on trial for first-degree murder after a patient they tied face down on a gurney suffocated, a judge ruled Friday.

Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan are charged with the December death of 35-year-old Earl Moore in Springfield. They pleaded not guilty Friday and are being held in the Sangamon County Jail on $1 million bail.

Finley, 44, and Cadigan, 50, each face 20 to 60 years in prison if convicted. Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow has released her decision after a controversial 3.5-hour preliminary hearing.

Springfield police first came to Moore’s home around 2 a.m. on December 18.

Finley and Cadigan were called to the apartment. CCTV footage shows officers trying to get Moore to his feet to get medical attention, after which they place him in a prone position on the gurney. Cadigan, an emergency medical officer, tied him up while Finley, a paramedic, put a blanket over him.

Finley later told hospital officials and an investigator that Moore had been combative.

An autopsy found that Moore died of “positional asphyxiation” and had two broken ribs, which prosecutor Dan Wright attributed at Friday’s hearing to Moore being so tightly bound face down.

“There is no medical reason to transport someone in a prone position,” Wright said.

Referring to the video, Wright continued, “Obviously Mr. Moore is not belligerent. He was the opposite of combative. He needed help. For them, covering up by telling the hospital staff they were belligerent goes against their credibility.

“If this goes to trial, the state will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that when they put him on the gurney, they said, ‘I think I’m going to kill him,'” said Justin Kuehn, one of Cadigan’s lawyers. “Were their actions reckless? That’s for another day.

When the defendants entered the courtroom, Finley saw seven family members sitting in the front row. She sat down at the defense table, and with tears streaming down her cheeks, she looked at her family and said with her mouth, “I’m sorry.

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