COUPLE HELD FOR TRIAL IN CHILD DEATH

Relates to:
Date: 1985-01-30

Author: CYNTHIA BURTON, Daily News Staff Writer

A Montgomery County husband and wife were ordered yesterday to stand trial on murder charges in the death of a 4-year-old Salvadoran boy they had planned to adopt.

District Justice Grant Musselman, in Souderton, held Peter Moyer, 33, and Christine Moyer, 35, on charges of third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated assault and related charges in the death of Carlos Beltran, whom police found dead in the couple's Franconia Township home last Dec. 14.

Christine Moyer wept as Assistant District Attorney Mary Killinger said Carlos was a "child so conditioned to being beaten by his mother that he takes his pants down and braces himself against the bed."

Christine Moyer's lawyer, Michael Marino, asked that murder charges against her be dropped, contending that "we have a mother trying to discipline her child. The little boy would stick his fingers down his throat and throw up all over the house. She would slap and hit him with a belt. If that's murder, then we're all guilty."

Robert Kerns, representing Peter Moyer, asked that all charges against his client be dropped because there was no evidence he hit Carlos. Both motions were rejected.

Christine Moyer told police that she hit the boy with a belt and did not realize that the belt would wrap around his body, hitting him in the stomach, according to Montgomery County Detective William Davis.

Blows to the abdomen caused bruising on Carlos' skin, a tear in his bowel and bleeding behind the bowel, said Dr. Halbert Fillinger, the forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy.

He said Carlos' death was a homicide caused by multiple injuries to the head, trunk, arms and legs. Injuries on the boy's arms and legs, he said, appeared to be defensive wounds caused when he raised his arms and legs to protect himself from blows.

Killinger said the Moyers did not get medical attention for Carlos because ''they did not want a doctor to see the child in that condition." However, Carlos was treated in late November for a concussion, Montgomery County detectives said.

Montgomery County Detective Gene Skerchock said the day after the autopsy he told Christine Moyer she was "despicable" and that there "wasn't a point on his (Carlos') body that wasn't marked." Later that morning, he said, he heard her crying and telling her husband, "We hurt this boy."

The Moyers have two natural children, Laura, 4, and Jenny, 2. Shortly after Carlos' death, the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth took the girls, but returned them later when a medical examination showed no evidence of child abuse.

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