The Nanny Murder Case Essay, Research Paper
Massachusetts v. Woodward
Louise Woodward, a British Nanny, was hired in November of 1996 by Sunil and Deborah Eappen, for their sons, Matthew and Brendan. On February 4, 1997, the Massachusetts police received a phone call from Woodward stating that Matthew Eappen was having trouble breathing. When the paramedics examined Matthew, they said he had a 2-? inch skull fracture. His eyes were bulging, which is a sign of the ?shaken baby syndrome.? Before Matthew Eappens death, he spent four days on life support.
After the event, Woodward was jailed without bond. Supporters from Massachusetts and Britain argued that she should not have to stay in jail on grounds that she is a foreigner and did not understand the U.S. legal system. She was kept in a states women?s prison and had to stay because prosecutors felt that she might flee the country if she was freed on bail.
Prosecutors said that Woodward admitted to harming Matthew. They said she shook him, dropped him on the floor, and then tossed him on the bed in order to quiet the baby. Prosecutors argued that Woodward was so frustrated with Matthews uncontrollable crying, that she began to violently shake him to stop the crying. Medical examiners said that Matthew must have hit the floor with the ?force equivalent to a fall from a second-story window.? Naturally the injuries from the fall along with the shaking caused Matthews death.
Forensic expert, Barry Scheck, who took part in the O.J. Simpson trial, was recruited to help Woodward?s defensive argument. The defense stated that a pre-existing medical condition might have killed Matthew, not the supposed mistreatment. The defense attempted to find genetic disorders that could have affected his bone strength and development or could have caused brain hemorrhages, by requesting DNA tests on Matthew. The defense also tried to put the blame on Matthews?s two-year-old brother, Brendan, for the injuries, since he was the only other family member home that night. Prosecutors immediately argued that a boy of such a young age isn?t capable of inflicting that serious of physical trauma on an infant.
Louise Woodward was sentenced to death. After many appeals, and different attorneys, her defense argued that during the original trial, the defense was unable to have full access to the medical evidence that the state collected. Woodward was eventually acquitted and returned home to Britain.
My personal opinion of the trial and the outcome is negative. I find that Louise Woodward not being imprisoned for her crime is ridiculous. It is obvious that she is responsible for Matthew Eappens death and Woodward?s acquittal is absurd. If she can get away with such a horrible crime and be free to walk the streets, then I am sure there are people accused of equally severe crimes who have also been acquitted.