Hearing Held In Death Of Montgomery Boy

Relates to:
Date: 1985-06-11
Source: mcall.com

by RUTH O'BRYAN, The Morning Call

Statements given by a Montgomery County couple who have been charged in the death of a 4-year-old Salvadoran boy they were adopting were made voluntarily and will be admitted into evidence at their trial June 17.

That was the ruling by Judge Horace A. Davenport after a day of testimony yesterday in Montgomery County Court.

Attorneys for Peter and Christine Moyer of Minninger Road, Franconia Township, argued unsuccessfully that the two were unaware they faced possible criminal charges when they waived their constitutional right to remain silent.

The child, born Carlos Beltran, was brought to the United States from El Salvador in April 1984 for adoption by the Moyers, who called him Scott. An autopsy showed that he suffered multiple injuries of the head, trunk and extremities. Police have charged the parents with beating the boy in an effort to toilet-train him.

Mrs. Moyer testified she had left the family home in the morning of Dec. 14 to attend a retirement party for her father in Churchville, BucksCounty. She said she learned of Scott's death when she called home around 4 that afternoon.

She was too upset to drive, she said, so her husband came to get her. Both then were questioned at the Franconia police station and gave statements to county detectives.

Both testified yesterday that they thought they were simply helping police determine "why Scotty died" when they made and signed statements.

County Detectives Robert Davis and Eugene Skerchock testified that when they took statements from the Moyers, they did not themselves know that an autopsy performed later that night at North Penn Hospital, Lansdale, would determine the death a homicide.

At the time they initially questioned the couple they considered the death "suspicious," both detectives testified.

It was not until the autopsy was completed in the early morning of Dec. 15 that the Moyers were charged with third-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child.

Defense attorneys Michael D. Marino and Robert Kerns said they will waive a jury trial. Assistant District Attorney Mary MacNeil Killinger will prosecute for the commonwealth.


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