A couple convicted of murdering their toddler by starving him until he was so hungry he ate lint from his blanket have demanded a retrial.
Corey Moore, 29, and his wife Christy, 27, say their November 2019 murder conviction is unsound because they did not intend for 20 month-old Jeremiah to die.
The pair, from Princeton in West Virginia, let Jeremiah starve to death in November 2018, and instructed their attorneys to ask a judge for a new trial at a court hearing Wednesday.
Jeremiah died weighing just 11 pounds – 14 pounds less than the average weight of a healthy baby his age – with an autopsy discovering lint from his blanket in his stomach.
Doctors believed the youngster ate the fluff in a bid to stave off the hunger which ended up killing him, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported.
Joseph Harvey, who is representing Christy Moore, told the motions hearing that there was no legal basis for the original murder charge, because malicious intent was not proven.
But George Sitler, who prosecuted the Moores at trial, hit back during the hearing on Thursday and insisted Jeremiah’s age and total dependency on them meant that their behavior constituted murder.
He said: ‘A small child is utterly at the mercy of their parents.
‘They have no means to obtain their own food, they have no means to go to the emergency room because they are gravely ill because they have no food.’
Sitler highlighter how the Moores did not have jobs, and had custody of Jeremiah 24/7, saying this meant there was no excuse for the baby’s death.
The Moores were also convicted of child neglect resulting in death.
Harvey says that that charge in itself proves the Moores did not act maliciously, and thus negates the murder conviction.
The defense attorney went on to highlight how trial prosecutor George Sitler wrote a letter on behalf of a doctor who treated the child, which was considered a key piece of evidence.
He also claimed that the Moores’ defense team had not been told about a plea agreement negotiated with the parents until the eve of their trial.
And Harvey said that a claim by Sitler that the parents had ‘broken God’s law’ was not a legitimate legal argument, and would not withstand the scrutiny of a supreme court appeal.
Circuit Court Judge Mark Wills will now consider the request for a retrial, and is expected to share his decision in April.
The Moores remain at Southern Regional Jail, with their original sentence stipulating life with the possibility of parole after 15 years.