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2 Illinois EMS workers charged with murder in death of patient strapped to stretcher appear in court

Peter J. Cadigan, 50, and Peggy J. Finley, 44, pleaded not guilty to charges related to the Jan. 9 death of Earl Moore, Jr.

The two EMS workers accused of killing a Springfield, Illinois, man in their care who died last month after they transported him strapped tightly facedown on a stretcher pleaded not guilty.

Peter J. Cadigan, 50, and Peggy J. Finley, 44, were charged with murder on Jan. 9 in the death of Earl Moore, Jr., 35, on Dec. 18. They appeared in court Friday afternoon, according to NBC affiliate WAND of Decatur, Illinois.

Police had called an ambulance to a home Moore was in where he was in medical distress. A person in the home told officers that he was suffering alcohol withdrawals and having hallucinations, police said.

Moore died shortly after the EMS workers placed him on a stretcher in the prone position with tightened straps placed on his back and lower body, Sangamon County State’s Attorney Dan Wright said. 

Paramedics load Earl Moore into an ambulance on Dec. 18, 2022, in Springfield, Ill.
An image from a police body camera shows paramedics loading Earl Moore into an ambulance on Dec. 18, 2022, in Springfield, Ill.Sangamon County Government

Moore died of compressional and positional asphyxia “due to prone face-down restraint on a paramedic transportation cot/stretcher by tightened straps across the back" and his death was classified as a homicide, the county coroner concluded.

The duo appeared in Sangamon County Circuit Court for a preliminary hearing Friday morning

Both were being held in the Sangamon County jail on bail of $1 million each. 

Wright said they face 20 to 60 years in prison if they are convicted. It was not immediately clear whether they have lawyers.

Moore’s family filed a wrongful death suit Thursday against Cadigan and Finley and the ambulance company they were employed by, LifeStar Ambulance Services. 

They are represented by prominent civil rights attorney Ben Crump who said this case is “unlike anything we’ve seen in America.” 

Police had released officer body camera footage of the incident that showed EMS workers failing to offer assistance in helping Moore, who was unable to walk, get to the stretcher. Once police officers helped him outside, the footage showed Cadigan and Finley place him face down on it. 

“When you look at that video, they offer no humanity to Earl Moore Jr. And that’s why this case is so unique,” Crump said at a news conference Thursday. "That’s why people all across America are shocked that they would treat an incapacitated man like they did.”