Florida Care Provider Convicted

August 2012 update:

Stephanie Spurgeon has been sentenced to 15 years in prison. If there is information about an appeal, I will try to post it.

A Florida jury has convicted child-care provider Stephanie Spurgeon of manslaughter, despite testimony from neuropathologist Dr. Jan Leestma that the infant’s death could have resulted from non-violent causes. Spurgeon was facing first-degree murder charges, so there is a silver lining.

The news report of the conviction seems to have been taken off the web.

For the news stories I noticed during the trial, you can check out

February 10 coverage

February 8 coverage

Her suporters maintain a facebook page for her at http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Stephanie-Foundation/231645840262829

4 Comments

Filed under abusive head trauma, AHT, SBS, shaken baby syndrome

4 responses to “Florida Care Provider Convicted

  1. Sad in Pinellas County

    I appreciate your attention to this trial, but just so you are aware, this ended up not being an SBS case, but BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA to the head caused by abuse. That was the cause of death and the defense tried to detract from it by introducing SBS. I just wanted this information out there so that the actual result is known. This could in part be the reason why you don’t see any mention of this case by supporters now.

    • Please accept my condolences on your enormous loss.

      Thank you for writing. While I have not personally reviewed the medical records in the Spurgeon case, I have seen doctors apply the term “blunt force trauma to the head” in cases where shaking was the presumed mechanism. I’ve never quite understood the logic, but just the other day prosecutor Susan Jensen in Illinois was quoted as saying in court that “blunt trauma could include vigorous shaking.” There were no signs of impact in that case, either:

      http://www.thetelegraph.com/news/child-72905-taylor-dycus.html

  2. Sad in Pinellas County

    Thanks Sue. I questioned it too, but I attended every day of the trial. I watched independent witnesses testify that it was not an accident and it was caused by sudden deceleration of the child’s head into a surface, (probably a playpen mattress due to the circumstances brought up at trial). I am a strong proponent of protecting people from false allegations such as SBS when it isn’t warranted, but tragically, in the Spurgeon case, the jury got it right. She is fortunate that she wasn’t convicted of murder. The judge offered an “out” by putting a manslaughter conviction on the table as an option. This was blunt FORCE trauma. She impacted into something soft enough to avoid evidence of outward bruising. (Although it could have been there, under her thick hair, but it wasn’t checked out).

  3. This site supports people who have been accused of assaulting infants based on the classic model of shaken baby syndrome, which I believe is flawed (as explained on the home page, http://onsbs.com/). As in all other fatal cases, I am deeply sorry that a child has died, and I offer my condolences to the family. I am not going to clear any more comments about this case, however. I apologize to the people who will deservedly feel muffled, but I want this site to be safe for the innocent accused. Thank you for understanding.

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