KIM HOOVER-MOORE was wrongfully convicted of the murder of a nine-month-old child in 2003. The child’s father dropped her off at Kim’s home on November 29, 2002. She was sleeping when she arrived and was later tired and fussy. Kim put her down to sleep and when she went to wake and feed her, the child could not hold her head up and was having trouble breathing. Kim called 911, and while she was on the phone with the dispatcher, attempted CPR.
When paramedics arrived at Kim’s home, the child was lifeless and having trouble breathing. At the hospital, she was stabilized and doctors performed blood tests and a CAT scan of her head. The CAT scan showed a skull fracture and a subdural hematoma. Doctors determined that her injuries were the result of shaken impact syndrome.
While the child was being treated, her mother informed the hospital social worker that there was frequently violence in the family home. According to police records, the child’s father had shaken her older sister when she was only three-months old, and during another episode, he had punched and pushed his wife while she was pregnant.
The child died on December 1, 2002. The coroner attributed her death to blunt force trauma, and Kim was subsequently convicted of her murder.
At the time of Kim’s conviction, it was believed that when a child died from brain injuries, the last person to be with the child was responsible for causing the injury. The State’s witnesses testified that the child’s injuries likely occurred within minutes of the 911 call. A pediatric neurologist who testified on Kim’s behalf agreed with the coroner’s findings that after the child’s injury, her symptoms would likely be immediate, but defined “immediate” as hours, rather than minutes. He testified that the injury would most likely have occurred within a couple of hours.
In the years since Kim’s conviction, advances in medical science have changed the formerly held belief about how quickly a child will become symptomatic following a brain injury. Through case studies and research, doctors now know that a child could suffer a brain injury and experience a period of lucidity, during which the child appears normal, for more than three days.
Both the original coroner and an expert pediatric forensic pathologist have recently reviewed the child’s records and discovered that she suffered from an older head injury that occurred days to weeks before her collapse and led to her death. Based on these new medical discoveries, Kim moved the court for leave to file a motion for new trial.
This scientific discovery is newly discovered evidence that undermines what was presented at his 1995 trial. Raymond’s case is pending in the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas.