New Boston, Texas: A Texarkana man was sentenced to life in prison Thursday afternoon after being found guilty of felony murder by a Bowie County jury in the death of his former girlfriend’s toddler.
Michael Moore, 26, was accused of inflicting blunt force trauma which led to traumatic brain injury Nov. 21, 2015, while babysitting 2-year-old KaDerious King. KaDerious’ mother was at work when a Texarkana, Texas, police officer went to her job at a local restaurant and took her to Wadley Hospital. KaDerious died that night.
The child’s mother, Alicia Carter, testified Wednesday that her son was a sweet, affable child who was in perfect health the day before his death. A cell phone picture taken by the mother of KaDerious the day before his death depicted a smiling child with just a single bump on his head. Alicia Carter said Moore had been watching the boy several days before and had told her the bump on the head was the result of the child falling from a kitchen chair.
Photos of KaDerious taken at the hospital and at the time of autopsy showed a small body covered in bruises.
“He had 24 blunt trauma injuries from the neck up,” argued First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd in his closing remarks to the jury. “Michael Moore brought us all here. It’s up to you to hold him accountable for taking the life of 2-year-old KaDerious.”
On the night of KaDerious’ death, Moore told officials the child had choked on pizza and begun vomiting. Moore said he put KaDerious in a bath when he continued to vomit and that he slipped and fell while holding the wet child four or five times. Moore’s lead defense attorney, First Assistant Public Defender Will Williams, argued the case was a tragic accident which the state was attempting to turn into a crime.
Shepherd and Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter pointed to the testimony of Dallas County Medical Examiner Tracy Dyer, who took the stand Thursday morning. Dyer testified that the massive trauma to the child’s brain could not have been caused by a fall. Dyer discussed autopsy photos of an internal examination of the child’s skull and brain which showed he had been subjected to force severe enough to cause bleeding and neurological disruption throughout the brain. During the punishment phase, the jury learned that Moore has a history of assault offenses.
Katie Carter reminded the jury of the shortness of KaDerious’ life.
“Two years, nine months and 10 days,” Katie Carter said. “That’s all KaDerious had.”