An Illinois judge ruled Friday that prosecutors presented enough evidence to justify first-degree murder charges against two paramedics accused of strapping a patient facedown on a stretcher.
Prosecutors filed the charges against Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan on Jan. 9, nearly a month after 35-year-old Earl Moore died. Sangamon County Circuit Court Judge Raylene Grischow bound both for trial following Friday’s preliminary hearing.
Under Illinois law, a first-degree murder charge can be filed when a defendant “knows that such acts create a strong probability of death or great bodily harm.”
If convicted, Finley and Cadigan could each face between 20 and 60 years in prison.
Experts have said it’s rare for emergency medical providers to face criminal charges in a patient’s death. Illinois authorities have argued that the two defendants had the training and other knowledge to know that Moore could have been seriously injured or killed by being strapped to the stretcher while lying on his stomach.
Moore’s family announced Thursday that they have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Finley, Cadigan and their employer, a company called LifeStar Ambulance Service.