Stephanie Spurgeon

Stephanie Spurgeon, a woman from Florida, was in jail for a crime she didn’t do. On August 3, 2020, she would be free. Spurgeon was charged with manslaughter after Maria Harris, a baby who had spent her first day in Spurgeon’s care, died in August 2008. She died in the car on the way home.

Spurgeon was married and had two children. For fifteen years, she took care of children at home. Maria Harris, a one-year-old girl she was taking care of for the first time, got sick after she was picked up at the end of the day. Maria fell asleep and never woke up. She had a brain hemorrhage and died eight days later.

Stephanie Spurgeon reacts to the jury finding her guilty of manslaughter at the Pinellas County Criminal Justice Center in 2012.

Doctors say that the abuse was what led to the brain haemorrhage. Even though the child didn’t show any obvious signs of being hurt or traumatised, this was the case. No one got cut, broke a bone, or hurt their neck. But the prosecution says that the baby’s brain grew because he or she was thrown over and over on a soft surface, like a mattress. Instead of focusing on the claim that the girl was thrown onto a soft surface, Spurgeon’s lawyer argued against a theory that the child died because she was shaken. This was not a theory that the prosecution relied on during the trial.

Stephanie Spurgeon was given a new trial in 2018 because new evidence showed she was innocent.

In 2012, Spurgeon was found guilty and given 15 years in prison. Spurgeon was found guilty of manslaughter because prosecutors at her trial said that the girl’s enlarged brain could only have been caused by abuse.

Maria Harris

Spurgeon’s lawyers want to use scientific evidence from biomechanical engineering to clinical pathology to challenge her conviction. Seth Miller, the director of our film, says that Spurgeon’s lawyer didn’t present evidence that could have led to an acquittal. Spurgeon’s lawyer chose to argue against the idea of Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) instead of the real theory of the prosecution, which was that the baby was thrown against a soft surface.

Most of the time, shaken infant syndrome happens when a parent or caretaker violently shakes a child, usually because the child won’t stop crying. Death or long-term brain damage could happen.

Symptoms include being irritable, having trouble staying awake, shaking, breathing strangely, not eating well, getting bruises, and vomiting.

What Really Happened

Several tests done on Maria while she was in the hospital showed that she was having a diabetic crisis that wasn’t being treated. Maria’s blood sugar was more than four times the normal amount, and she had a blood clot in a vein at the top of her head.

Dr. Michael Laposata, a pathologist who specializes in blood diseases, said that the clot formed about ten days before Maria was taken to the hospital. Also, there were no marks on her head that could have shown that she had been hurt.

Chris Van Ee, an expert in biomechanical engineering from Michigan, also testified that tests done on infant-sized dummies show that Maria’s brain injury could not have been caused by falling onto a mattress.

Stephanie said she was innocent, and two programs that help people prove their innocence took up her case. After Stephanie’s lawyers gave their arguments, three judges overturned her conviction, gave her a new trial, and set her bond. The bond was paid by her family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *