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Court proceedings continue after two EMS workers charged with first

Sep 19, 2023

SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (WAND) —The court proceedings for the two EMS workers charged in the death of Earl Moore Jr. continued this week.

In the pre-trial hearing, a change of bond was denied for Peter Cadigan and Peggy Finley, who both received bonds of $1 million. The family of Moore Jr. was in attendance at the hearing.

"It was an emotionally charged courtroom. The family is grieving. I think it was even stated by one of the defense attorneys that this case is hard to wrap your mind around," said Jennifer Hightower, attorney for the family. "Well that is one of the few statements that I agree with today. This is hard for the family to wrap their mind around the fact Earl Moore is gone. The fact their son, brother, nephew, their uncle. He's gone and he's never coming back. "

January 19 was the first time the family spoke publicly regarding the death of Moore. Jr.

"They tied him down like some kind of animal and killed him. The workers that killed Earl must be held accountable for his death. Our family will grieve Earl for the rest of our lives," said Rose Washington, Mother of Earl Moore Jr.

The 35-year-old was killed December 18th, 2022 after being strapped face down on a gurney. An autopsy found that Moore died of compressional and positional asphyxia due to prone facedown restraint on a paramedic transpiration stretcher due to tightened straps across the back.

LifeStar EMS workers, Cadigan and Finley were arrested and charged with first-degree murder.

Footage from the Springfield Police Body Camera shows Finley berating Moore Jr. during the initial emergency call.

"Sit up! I am not playing with you tonight. You're gonna have to walk cause we ain't carrying you. I'm serious we're not in the mood for this dumb shit," said Finley to Moore Jr.

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Cadigan and Finley had a preliminary hearing on Friday, where both pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. The pair also agreed to be co-defendants throughout the trial. This means both cases will be heard together.

In court, Finley's attorney, Scott Hanken, argued there was a lack of evidence to charge her with first-degree murder.

"You watch the video; you heard the evidence. You heard the sergeant testify that there is no affirmative physical act that my client ever did," said Hanken.

WAND reached out to the Illinois EMS Association. They sent us this statement saying:

"Every EMS professional has the power to choose how they present themselves. They can make the choice to act professionally, with compassion and decency. We do not feel that this case represents proper patient care, basic decency, nor proper protocol when it comes to patient handling and scene assessment. These providers did not show empathy or provide proper care for Earl Moore, Jr.

EMS, as an industry, is struggling with crisis level staffing challenges that are pushing the demand on EMS providers beyond limits, with individuals working longer shifts, facing massive burnout, and facing challenges beyond those that other industries face. This is not an excuse for what happened and we hope the public sees that this is not a representation of EMS in Illinois. We are deeply saddened by the care, or lack thereof, that Earl Moore, Jr. received. Our thoughts and condolences go out to their loved ones during this difficult time."

In his first court appearance, Cadigan claimed he did not receive any training that would have informed him it was medically dangerous to strap Moore Jr. face down. However, Illinois State Police investigated and found that Cadigan actually completed this training last year.

A recorded phone call shows Finley telling the hospital she did not take Moore's vitals because she believed he was being combative. Despite telling investigators she had taken his vitals.

At the pre-trial date on February 6th, a change of bond was denied.

The next hearing has been set for March 20.

In addition to the criminal trial, the family of Earl Moore Jr. has filed wrongful death lawsuits against Finley, Cadigan, and their employer, LifeStar EMS.

WAND will continue to update you as more information develops with these cases.

Copyright 2023. WANDTV. All Rights Reserved.

SANGAMON COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - Two EMS workers recently charged with first-degree murder pleaded not guilty to the charges in court Friday morning.

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