Trial begins for man accused in toddler’s death

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New Boston, Texas: Testimony began Wednesday morning at the Bowie County courthouse in the trial of a man accused of murder in the death of his former girlfriend’s 2-year-old son.

Michael Moore, 26, faces five to 99 years or life in prison if found guilty of first-degree murder in the Nov. 21, 2015, death of KaDerious King. King died of blunt force trauma to the head.

Texarkana, Texas, Police Department Officers Jeremy Courtney and Mark Shermer testified they thought it was odd that there were no signs of a recent meal or pizza boxes when Moore told them the child began throwing up after shoving a large amount of pizza into his mouth. Courtney, the first officer on the scene, said Moore was on the phone with an emergency dispatcher receiving instructions in CPR when he arrived.

Courtney and Shermer testified under questioning from First Assistant District Attorney Michael Shepherd that they noticed several areas of vomit in the living room and bathroom of the house on Waterall Street in Texarkana, Texas, where KaDerious lived with his mother and 3-year-old sister. Both officers said the vomit did not have the appearance one would expect if thrown up by a child choking on just-chewed or swallowed pizza. Courtney said he traveled to a local restaurant where KaDerious’ mother had been working since 5:45 that evening and drove her to the hospital.

The officers said Moore told them he had slipped and fallen four or five times while holding KaDerious after the child began vomiting.

Life Net paramedic Donna Berry testified that KaDerious had no pulse and was not breathing when she entered the home, under questioning from Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter. Berry said Moore’s account of the child choking on pizza led her to check his mouth but that she found no pieces of food and that the boy’s airway was clear. Berry testified that the vomit she observed in the house did not appear to come from food that had been eaten recently.

Crime Scene Detective Spencer Price testified that he photographed KaDerious after he was pronounced dead at Wadley Hospital. Price said he focused on areas on the boys neck and side of his head which appeared to be bruising as well as a large knot on the child’s forehead.

Retired Texarkana, Texas, Detective Daphne Stiles testified that Moore told her the boy had fallen from a kitchen chair the Saturday before his death and hit his forehead, causing the large knot. Alicia Carter, KaDerious’ mother, testified that Moore had been watching her children the Friday before his death and told her KaDerious fell from a chair in the kitchen and bumped his head.

Stiles testified that Moore’s story was “all over the place,” and that he claimed to have fallen with the boy after bathing him following episodes of vomiting. Stiles said the investigation revealed Moore was the only adult alone with KaDerious when he suffered the injuries that led to his death.

Alicia Carter testified she and Moore had been dating about four months when KaDerious died. Alicia Carter testified under cross examination by First Assistant Public Defender Will Williams that she never saw Moore harm her children or his own 3-year-old daughter.

KaDerious’ grandmother, Karmen Harper, testified that KaDerious was healthy when she babysat him the weekend before. Harper described the toddler as a quiet child who was easy to watch.

The jury was told by 202nd District Judge John Tidwell to expect testimony from the state’s medical examiner Thursday before releasing them for the day Wednesday.

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