THE COMPLETE VERSION: State v. Judy Cox (Homicide By Child Abuse) Trial

The trial of the State v. Judy Cox, who is charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of five-month-old Jeremiah Thompson began on March 20th and ended in a mistrial on March 24th.

State’s Opening Statement
On Monday, in his opening statement, Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniel began on September 5, 2018 when Melissa Thompson gave birth to twins, Jeremiah and Zachariah. They were premature, born at 34 weeks, healthy and normal. In November 2018, the twins started going to Generations Daycare.
On February 12, 2019, Melissa got the boys up, dressed and fed them, and the family who had one car at the time, took the boys to the daycare, the family’s first stop. They were fine and healthy. Judy Cox met them at the door just before 7:00 a.m., and after dropping off the boys, Robert, the father took the daughter to school and dropped Melissa off at work and then headed for work himself.
Daniel then touched on the three statements of Judy Cox. Daniel then described what he said Cox said in her statement. A little after 10:30 a.m., Cox was feeding Jeremiah. She said he spit up, and she cleaned it up. She put him on the changing table and went to change his diaper. Daniel said that Cox said he went limp and shook him a little and sought help from other employees.
Two employees performed CPR and called 9-1-1. Jeremiah had to be intubated. Melissa was called and told that Jeremiah was taken to the ER. Forty-five minutes later, a brain scan was done. Jeremiah was bleeding on the brain and not breathing on his own.
On February 16, 2019, after a series of scans, tests, and medicine and doctors saying there was nothing else that could be done, Jeremiah passed away while being held in his mother’s arms.
How did this tragedy get to court? Daniel said the police interviewed Cox and other daycare workers. At that point, they didn’t know if a crime had been committed, but they knew something wasn’t normal. They called the ER doctor and the trauma specialist in Florence.
Daniel said questions had to be answered.
1) Were the injuries to Jeremiah a result of something natural or inflicted by someone?
Daniel said the injuries were severe, and the doctors will tell the jury it did not happen naturally.
2) If the injuries that were inflicted by someone, when did it happen?
He said the testimony from Cox was that Jeremiah was awake, alert, eating, and playing. Daniel said doctors will say that it had to happen at the daycare. There was no way the baby would have acted normal.
3) Who did it?
Daniel said on three different occasions, Cox has said she was the only adult in the infant room all morning. He said Cox answers the third question herself.
Daniel said that Cox was charged with inflicting great bodily harm on a child.
On February 16, Jeremiah passed away. Daniel said at request they sought a second opinion. This second opinion came from the Chief Pediatric Doctor at MUSC in Charleston. It took several weeks, but his opinion was that the injuries were inflicted by someone and happened in the 7:00 a.m.-10:45 a.m. window.
The autopsy said it was an inflicted trauma and happened in the time window.
“This was not a rush to judgment,” said Daniel. He said that’s why it took a while for Cox to be charged with homicide by child abuse.
Daniel said this trial is hard for the Thompsons, hard for the Coxes, hard for the lawyers, and will be hard for the jury.
Daniel said they would not say Cox was a bad person and they will never say Cox intended for Jeremiah to die.
Daniel explained that homicide by child abuse is when someone causes the death of a child under age 11. He said it includes failure to exercise due care and can be unintentional.
Daniel said sometimes people make mistakes. He said maybe she lost it for a moment. He said Cox said she shook Jeremiah.
Daniel said once the jury hears the experts, the daycare workers, the Thompsons, and the other witnesses, he feels they will be left with no other option than a guilty verdict.

Defense’s Opening Statement
In her opening statement, Defense Attorney Rose Mary Parham said “this case is a tragic case.” She said her heart breaks for the Thompson family.
Parham said this is also a tragic case for Judy Cox because she is wrongfully accused of something she did not do. Parham said at the time of the incident, Cox was a 58-year-old God-fearing woman, who had operated this daycare for 15 years. In 15 years, no law enforcement or ambulance had ever been at the daycare.
Parham said Cox prided herself on the baby room. Generations of families had brought their babies to Judy Cox, and she loved every one of them.
At 10:00 a.m., Cox started waking the babies up. Cox was sitting on the floor feeding Jeremiah a bottle. She said Jeremiah started coughing and choking on the milk. She turned him on his side. She took him to the changing table. She had taken off his pants and was reaching with her right hand for the diapers. She looks down, and Jeremiah’s eyes are rolled back in his head, and he started arching up. She put one hand on his stomach and one on his back. She asked Jeremiah, son, what’s wrong? He was limp. She takes him and calls for help. The workers do CPR. The ambulance is there in minutes. Cox is distraught.
Parham alleged that the baby was not in perfect health. She said the baby was taking breathing treatments for 10 weeks and claimed that he took one even the day before the tragedy. She said the baby had medical problems.
Parham said the state will try to claim shaken baby syndrome because of the swelling of the brain, bleeding of the brain, and bleeding of the eyes, but there is not enough to do this. She said it’s false when the state says babies don’t get brain bleeds and die. “Bad things happen,” she said.
Parham says there was a rush to judgment because Cox was charged with the initial charge before the autopsy was done.
Parham said they had a renowned medical expert, who would say there were plenty of medical conditions that could have caused this as well as the effects of CPR on an infant.
Parham said MUSC in Charleston lost the tissue block from Jeremiah taken during the autopsy that allows others to give a second opinion, and it has not been found.
Parham said Cox loved that child like her own and that she cooperated and made three statements before hiring a lawyer.
She said Jeremiah was having life-altering events that morning. She said they may never know for sure what happened. She said it is the State’s burden to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt, and she feels the jury will find Cox not guilty.

Mother’s Testimony
The last smile, the last touch, the last time she held her baby. After the defense’s opening statement, Melissa Renee Thompson, the mother of Jeremiah, gave powerful, heart-wrenching testimony as she cried—and at times, sobbing—through most of it.
M. Thompson was born and reared in Dillon. She is married to Robert Thompson They have four children including Jeremiah. She is a school teacher in Rowland. Her daughter, who was 14 at the time, is a student at S.C. State, and her son, who was 12 at the time, is a rising senior at Dillon High School. Zachariah and Jeremiah were twins. They were a pleasant surprise and a blessing, she said. Thompson said they had a loving family and were always together.
Thompson said Jeremiah was a chubby baby, active, and always wanting to be held. She remembered how he would reach his arms out to be picked up out of the car seat. Zachariah was more laid back and calm, and they always did the same thing at the same time.
Thompson said the twins had no health issues. At one time, they were doing breathing treatments, but those were “as needed.”
Thompson said on the days leading up to the event, there was nothing unusual.
On February 11th, Jeremiah was very happy and excited—giggling, smiling, and kicking. There was nothing odd.
The morning was the normal routine. They got ready about 6:30 a.m. and locked in the car. She remembers the smiles they both had that morning. That was the last smile she saw on Jeremiah’s face.
They went straight to Generations Daycare. There had been no problems before this day. She had one twin. Her daughter had the other. The first person they saw was Judy Cox. She relayed the normal information that they boys were fed and changed.
Her husband dropped off her daughter and then took M. Thompson to the school and dropped her off.
M. Thompson said she went into the school to her class of first graders. They had a busy morning. Right after snack time at 10:00 a.m., M. Thompson got a phone call. She had an observer in the classroom watching her teach a math lesson. The phone ran in the classroom. The observer gestured to her that it was okay for her to answer the phone. The Caller ID said Generations Daycare so she answered it.
The voice on the other end said Mrs. Melissa, Jeremiah is on the way to the ER (emergency room). “What’s wrong with my baby?,” she asked. The voice said he was having a cough attack “A cough attack?,” she questioned. She asked if they had called her husband. They said he wouldn’t answer the phone. She called her husband, and he said no one had called him.
She ran out in the hall forgetting her class to leave to go to the hospital when she remembered her husband had dropped her off, and she had no car. “How am I going to get to my baby?,” she asked.
A co-worker came up and said I got you. On the way to the hospital, the co-worker was driving and praying. Thompson was crying and saying “get me to my baby.” The co-worker let her out at the front entrance of the hospital while she went to park the car.
She walked in and Judy Cox met her. “What is going on with my baby,” she asked.
Thompson said Cox told her that she had the babies on the floor having playtime as required by DSS. She picked up Jeremiah to feed him and he coughed up all the milk. She picked up a cloth to clean it up, and he started coughing again. She took him to the changing table. She said she laid him down, he coughed again, and she picked up the baby and began to shake him.
“Did you shake my five-month-old baby?,” she asked.
Cox said she did when he went limp.
“Did you shake my five-month-old baby?,” she asked again.
She said the receptionist opened the door and she went in with Judy Cox behind her. Thompson said when she got to the hospital room, she saw her baby with no life in his body. Nurses and doctors were working on him
She went to the bed, and said “Jeremiah, it will be okay.”
The doctor said it was Zachariah. She told the doctor to look at the birthmark on his right foot. He said, “Mom, you’re right.” The wrong name of the child had been given and it had to be changed in the computer.
Jeremiah was taken for a brain scan. The doctor came back and said the baby was bleeding in the brain.
“No, he’s not,” she said, but he was and had to be transferred to McLeod in Florence.
The medical staff told her she had to leave the room so they could prepare him for transfer. She said she couldn’t leave her baby, but she complied, and they took her to a room where she could see in. Judy Cox was on one side of her and her father was on the other. When the doctor came in and gave the CT results that Jeremiah was bleeding on the brain, Thompson said Cox jumped up and ran out.
Thompson wasn’t allowed to ride the ambulance. Her pastor and his wife took her and her husband to Florence.
When they got there, the medical staff was working on Jeremiah and wouldn’t allow her in the room yet. She said when she did walk in the room and saw all those tubes, she said, “This is not my baby. This is not how he was when I dropped him off at the daycare.”
When asked, she mentioned that there was a bruise on her baby’s face that she noticed at the ER in Dillon that was not there in the morning when she dropped him off.
She was only allowed to touch him once more while he was alive. She put his hand on her finger and wrapped it around, and he squeezed it. It was the last touch.
Thompson never left the hospital for the next four days. She wouldn’t leave her baby.
On his last day at 4:30 p.m., they took Jeremiah for his last test. They brought him back, but there was no good news. The doctor said there was one more test to do—examine his eyes.
Thompson recalled that she didn’t think she could take it.
The doctor opened Jeremiah’s right eye and shined a light, there was no response. He opened the left eye and shined a light, there was no response.
The doctor looked at her husband and said, “Jeremiah is no longer with us.”
“No,” she pleaded. “Do it again, doctor.” The doctor said, “Mama, he’s gone.”
She asked if she could please hold her baby. The doctor looked at the nurses and said yes, but be gentle.
Her husband, her daughter, her son—her family—surrounded her as she held the baby.
She saw his stomach was rising. She thought Jeremiah was still alive. She urged them to call someone.
Her husband said, “No. The baby is leaving you.” She saw the baby go to the left, and that was it.
She said, “No God, no God.” She asked her daughter to come hold her baby brother one more time. She sat beside her.
Her testimony ended.
During the cross-examination by Parham, Parham’s line of questioning attempted to indicate that Jeremiah was not well; however, Thompson said he was very healthy, and the breathing treatments were as needed. She questioned her about various doctor’s appointments, but according to Thompson’s answers, many of the appointments were for the other baby. She said she did not recall many of the things that Parham attempted to bring up.

On Tuesday morning, Tesha Hyatt, Margaret Byrd and Tori Marthers testified. They were employees at Generations Daycare in February of 2019. On the day Jeremiah was rushed to the hospital, Hyatt and Byrd performed CPR while Marthers called 911. None of them was in the infant room with Jeremiah and Cox that morning. All testified that Cox was alone in the infant room. All also testified that they have no idea what may or may not have happened in the infant room. They all said they had never seen Cox hurt any of the children in the daycare.
Brad Hardwick testified that he worked with EMS and responded to the daycare after the 911 call. He said Jeremiah was not able to breath on his own when he got to him, so he performed CPR and immediately took Jeremiah to the hospital.
Dr. Rudolph Jokl, the ER doctor who treated Jeremiah, testified that Jeremiah was not breathing when he arrived in the ED. He intubated Jeremiah then ordered a head CT scan, which showed bilateral subdural hematomas. Dr. Jokl said that is indicative of trauma. He sent Jeremiah to McLeod Florence.

Tuesday Afternoon Session
During the afternoon session of the trial, Danielle Rogers, a former detective with the City of Dillon Police Department, said after receiving the call, she and Detective Lorie Tyler went to the hospital to see Jeremiah, but couldn’t because the doctors were working on him. They spoke briefly with the parents. They also spoke to Judy Cox and read her the Miranda rights. A recording was made with the city-issued cell phone. This recording was used for the investigative notes, but it can no longer be located.
Rogers gave the version of events given by Cox during the interview, which is the same version that has been repeated in this story. She appeared to be panicky at the time of the interview, Rogers said.
She agreed to come to the police station for the video and audio recording. This was just a couple of hours later.
Defense attorney Parham questioned her as to what happened to the first audio recording at the hospital. Rogers said she did not know.
Lorie Tyler, also a former detective at the City of Dillon Police Department, gave the same version of events as Rogers. She also testified that she did not know what happened to the audio recording.
Both detectives agreed when asked that Cox was visibly shaken.
The interview with Cox was then played. Cox was given her Miranda rights and agreed to be interviewed. She said she had nothing to hide.
Cox said they got there with the twins at about 7:05. She talked about some of the things that had occurred that morning. At about 10:30-10:40, she said he had been on the floor for playtime. She said he and his brother played on the floor and were rolling around and kicking.
She was feeding him and he had a coughing spell. She turned him on his side and he threw up on the carpet. She put him on the changing table and pulled his pants off. She looked down and realized something was wrong. She carried him out the door of the baby room, called for help, and other workers started CPR, called the ambulance, and called the parents. She said she didn’t remember him hitting his head on anything.
She said she was in a panic. In 15 years, she said nothing had ever happened like this. She said she was scared to death. She said she knew she had to get help for that baby. She went over some other details.
Cox said when Mrs. Thompson walked into the hospital, she grabbed her and they hugged. A few other details were given, and the interview ended.
After the interview was played, Tyler was questioned further. She said warrants were signed two days after that interview and after getting opinions from doctors, etc. Jeremiah died on February 16th.
They waited for an opinion from another doctor before upgrading the charge, which was done a few months later.
Dr. Thomas Beaver, who did the autopsy, ended the testimony on Wednesday. He said over 100 images were taken during the autopsy and a radiograph which x-rayed every bone in his body was taken. Beaver said the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. He said this can be caused by a non-penetrable impact and also by forces such as acceleration or deceleration. He went into great detail explaining the results of the autopsy.

Testimony in the trial continued on Wednesday.
Cheryl McCall, former SLED agent, interrogated Judy Cox in the days following the incident. This was taken up during Day 3 of the State v. Judy Cox, who is charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of five-month-old Jeremiah Thompson. Below are statements made from McCall’s interrogation of Cox at the Dillon Police Department.
Cheryl McCall:
“So when you picked him up. You realized something is wrong?”
Cox: “I put my hand behind his head, like this here. I said son what is wrong with you. What is wrong with you? What are you doing? But, I didn’t pick him up and shake him. I didn’t pick him up and shake him.”
McCall: “You have several options. You can leave out of here own your own. Or you can leave out of here with the understanding either be truthful to me. Or this lady right here. And most importantly to yourself. Because you are lying to yourself. You shook that child.”
McCall: “If you love these children like you say you do.
Why didn’t you immediately start CPR?”
Cox: “I panicked.”
Rose Mary Parham questioning McCall about her termination from SLED in January of 2023. 
McCall said in court she was fired for policy violations on a child fatality case in October of 2022 in Marlboro County.
Parham: “Isn’t it true that SLED’s investigation into your conduct related to this child’s death revealed several instances where you failed to provide truthful and complete information to your supervisor to DSS?And internal investigators?”
McCall: That was their findings, yes.”
Daniel questioned McCall about her separation from SLED.
Daniel: Why do you not work for SLED anymore?
 McCall: “I was terminated for policy violations in January of 2023.”

Testimony of Defense
Witnesses On Thursday

The State concluded its case on Thursday morning after hearing testimony from medical experts, the two older Thompson children, and the father, Robert Thompson.
As the Thursday afternoon session began, Defense Attorney Rose Mary Parham asked for a directed verdict saying there was not sufficient evidence to prove her client guilty of this charge. The judge respectfully denied the motion.
Judy Cox was questioned by the judge as to whether she wanted to testify and informed her of her Fifth Amendment rights. She stated that she wanted to testify.
The defense witnesses started off with City of Dillon Police Officer Ricky Day. He went to Generations Daycare on the date of the incident. He was wearing a body camera, and the footage was published from the two times he was there to the jury. During this video, one can hear him asking who was present at the time of the incident. In the second video, one of the workers is telling Day what happened. She said she had been there for several years, and this was the first time anything like this had ever happened.
Amber Moates, who had worked at Generations from 2016-2019 and who has over 16 years in the profession, was the next to testify. She said it was just a normal day. She was working in another classroom diagonally across the hall. She recalled hearing Cox call out “help me, help me.” Two other workers did CPR, and another called 9-1-1. She said Cox was frantic. All she could see from where she was is that the baby “looked limp.” She testified that Cox was good with kids and that she loved them and they loved her.
Danyell Page and Mandy Grice, both parents of children who went to the daycare, testified that their children got excellent care while at the daycare.
Bieonka Manning, who was also working at Generations at the time of the incident, said she worked in the two-to-three-year-old room behind the infant room. She said up until that point it had been a normal day when she heard Cox call out. She went out the door to see what was happening after changing a diaper. When she got to the door, she saw two employees doing CPR. She said Cox was upset and crying. She said that she never saw Cox mistreat a child and that she did a good job with the baby room. She said she kept the room in order.
On cross-examination, Deputy Solicitor Kernard Redmond asked Manning if she told Dillon Police during her interview that Cox “was having one of her days” that day. She said yes. That Cox said good morning and went in her room. Manning said she acted like she had something on her mind that day.
On cross-examination by Parham, Manning said Cox was good to her employees and when she paid them she thanked them for what they do. She again said that Cox did a good job with the infant room.

Testimony Of Judy Cox
Judy Cox was the next to testify. She gave some of her background and how she came to own the daycare. She then recounted, tearfully at times, what she says happened on February 12, 2019.
Cox got there a little bit before 7:00 a.m. At about 7:05 a.m., Zachariah and Jeremiah came up and she took them to the infant room. She put them in different places so she could tell them apart. She said at about 7:30 a.m., Zachariah cried and then Jeremiah cried, so she gave them some milk and they went back to sleep. At about 9:00 a.m., she shut the door, woke up the babies, and started changing their diapers. She said they started having floor time as required by DSS (Department of Social Services). She put a blanket on the floor for Zachariah and Jeremiah because she said they had to be together all the time.
After playtime, it was feeding time around 10:30 a.m.-11:00 a.m. She said she was feeding Jeremiah and he got strangled and threw up. She flipped him over. She said it was slimy and thick. She wiped it up with a burping cloth. She put him on the changing table and pulled his pants off. She said she had her hand on his stomach and reached to get a diaper. She said his body was going back and his eyes rolled back and she asked, “Jeremiah, what’s wrong with you?” and picked him up and went out in the hall and hollered for help.
Cox said Jeremiah had coughing spells and was on albuterol. She said the mother told her that he had to take it every day. She said this day she did not have it and when she asked the mother about it, she said she did not have it and told her to forget about it and not worry about it. (NOTE: The mother stressed in her testimony that the breathing treatment was only administered AS NEEDED.) Cox said she had done the treatments on a bunch of the babies over the years.
Cox said over the years she had taken care of about 1,000 different children and this was the first time anything like this had happened. “He just went out,” Cox said. “I would have never hurt one of my babies.”
Cox then testified about the aftermath since this had occurred. She said it has had a bad effect on her life. She said she lost her business and about everything she has. “It’s been tough,” she said.
She said when the ambulance got there, she got on the back of the ambulance with them, and they were working on Jeremiah. They told her to get off the ambulance and shut the door. She ran through the daycare, grabbed her pocketbook, and followed in her car. She said initially she really thought it was Zachariah, not Jeremiah. Even in her testimony, on a couple of occasions, she mistakenly referred to the baby as Zachariah instead of Jeremiah.
She said when they were at the hospital, the father pulled up and she told him that he needed to get inside and find out what was going on with that baby. When the mother came up, she said they grabbed each other and she cried on her shoulder and she cried on hers. She said the mother said that she knew she didn’t hurt her baby. (NOTE: The mother’s testimony varies from this version of events.)
She said she voluntarily talked to police officers on three occasions. On the last occasion, when she was questioned by SLED, she was read her rights, handcuffed, and arrested.
Deputy Solicitor Redmond cross-examined Cox. He noted that the version of events as to what occurred at the hospital was different.
Redmond asked her about the ratio of babies to adults in the room.
Redmond asked her if she was above the number of babies in the room. Cox said yes. He then asked her if she had been previously written up by DSS for having too many babies in the room for one person. Cox said yes.
Redmond asked if this was in clear violation of what DSS requires and that the ratio was there for the safety of the children and so one person doesn’t become overwhelmed. Cox said yes.
Redmond said in the first interview, Cox admits to panicking. He then asked her if she chose to be the only one in the room with the babies. Cox said yes.
Redmond said in a previous hearing that Cox had felt she was “too good” and “that the rules did not apply” to her and that she felt like she could handle the baby room and that’s what she did. Redmond asked that she felt she was so good that the law didn’t apply to her regarding the care of babies. She said yes.
He said that in two interviews, she demonstrated how she held and how she shook Jeremiah. He said she said on direct questioning that she did not shake him. Cox said, “I did not shake him, the way ya’ll think I shook him.” In further questioning, she said again, “I didn’t shake him the way ya’ll think I shook him. I would never do that.”
Redmond again referred to an interview with SLED and asked her didn’t she say she didn’t think she shook him that hard. Cox said yes.
Parham then went for re-cross. She asked Cox to explain her answer. Cox said that SLED woman tortured her and wanted her to say what they wanted you to say. She said she had never been through an interview like that before. She said that SLED woman tortured her so much and wanted her to say that she did it. “I did not do it,” Cox said.
Then Redmond did a re-cross. He asked her if on three occasions did she not demonstrate how she shook Jeremiah Thompson. She said the way they saw it, she has not seen it that way. “I didn’t shake that baby, the way ya’ll think I shook that baby,” she said again. He asked her if she was not the same one who earlier said that she didn’t shake him at all.

Friday’s Testimony
On Friday, the jury heard from two medical experts. The first was for the defense—Dr. James Claude Upshaw Downs. He has worked on some high profile cases and has been on several episodes of “Forensic Files.”
Dr. Downs testified about the non-ideal situation he encountered when he had to go to MUSC to look at a set of slides because the tissue blocks in this case had been lost by MUSC. He said it was very uncomfortable.
He disagrees with the findings presented earlier. He went through a powerpoint that he put together regarding his findings in the case. Daniel objected because he had not been provided the powerpoint prior to it being presented in court.
Downs talked about things such as hypoxia that he said can cause some of the same findings. He also said it was not a good autopsy due to several reasons that he went over. He said while there were three suspicious findings, it was not enough in his opinion to make the shaken baby diagnosis. He also discussed what he said were some heart abnormalities that he had found.
Daniel questioned Dr. Downs about a statement in a book with the chapter with his name in it that he says was in direct conflict with Dr. Downs’ testimony.
After Dr. Downs testimony, Dr. John Melville took the stand as a rebuttal witness for the State. His focus is child abuse pediatrics to which he has devoted his career. He said unequivocally throughout his testimony that Jeremiah Thompson died as a result of abusive head trauma. He compared the findings they had to being in a severe auto accident or falling out of a second story window. He said he did not believe that heart abnormalities could explain the injuries seen. He said there was no evidence that Jeremiah suffered a heart attack. When asked, Melville agreed that otherwise good people can do bad things to babies. He said it’s the “frustration.” He again asserted his finding that Jeremiah died of abusive head trauma.

Closing Arguments
In his closing argument, Assistant Solicitor Daniel said this has been a long, hard trial. He said soon they would have to make a decision that no one should have to make. He said that he knew the jury’s service had been inconvenient, but there was no resolution without a jury. He talked about what they had to prove and discussed reasonable doubt. He explained the charge.
After Daniel opened on the law, Defense Attorney Parham made her opening statement. She thanked the jury for their attention all week. “It’s a sad case, a very sad case,” said Parham. She said there is nothing that will bring Jeremiah back and that Judy Cox has been accused of something she did not do. She said there was no proof that she did anything to Jeremiah. Cox was distraught and crying and followed the ambulance to the hospital. She said that Cox had done everything that she was supposed to do, and she cooperated with law enforcement. Parham talked about the baby’s medical problems.
Parham said that this was not an unbiased investigation and that it was a complete rush to judgement. She said Cox had never tried to hide anything in this case. She described Cox as a nurturing caring person and that it was crazy to think that she would disregard her training and everything she knows. She said that what Cox did was appropriate by CPR rules.
Parham talked about the autopsy, which she called abyssmal and said it was poor and unprofessional. “No rush to judgment? Of course it was. Of course it was,” she said.
Parham said she wanted the jury to think about this. Judy Cox worked 10 1/2 hours a day, 250 days a year. This is 2,625 hours a year for 15 years equalling 39,375 hours. She said there were usually 30-40 children in her care. She said that 1,181,250 hours of Cox taking care of children. She said Judy Cox would never do anything to harm anyone. She asked that they find Cox not guilty.
Daniel then made his final argument. He cautioned the jury to not be swayed by defense tactics such as blaming law enforcement and saying they were quick to blame Cox. Daniel said the lost audio had been fully transcribed on the police report and that statement was consistent with the other statements that had been made. He said before charging Cox they talked to a few different doctors and before upgrading the charge to homicide by child abuse, they got a second opinion and waited months before doing so.
Daniel said he thought it was an interesting choice of words for Cox to say that she had been tortured by SLED. He said she had to answer a few tough questions when getting an answer about what really happened to Jeremiah might have saved his life. “Tough, but tortured? How does that compare to the torture that Jeremiah received?”
He talked about the character of former SLED agent Cheryl McCall, who could have refused to testify since she no longer worked at SLED, but said it was not about her, it was about Jeremiah.
He said another tactic was blaming it on the doctors although he said that the typo on the autospy report was careless and the lost tissue block was a problem. He said Dr. Beaver and Dr. Downs had the same data.
He noted that Cox thought she was “too good” and didn’t have to follow the state ratio in the infant room.
Daniel said that medical experts found that Jeremiah had died as a result of blunt force trauma. He said they did not find asthma, they did not find pneumonia, and they did not find an abnormal heart. He said there were no birth defects, no drugs except fentanyl which was given at the hospital. He said it was non-accidental trauma.
Daniel said he agreed with Dr. Melville that all it takes is one moment on a really bad day. Daniel said he didn’t think Cox was a bad person; he thought she made a mistake.
Daniel said the evidence is clear that somebody did something that was inflicted and in extreme indifference to human life. “All it would take is one moment in time, even if it was unintentional.” He said Mrs. Cox ignored the DSS ratio. He said she admitted multiple times to being the only person in the room, and she admits to shaking Jeremiah. He said in one of the interviews she said that if she shook him that hard, she didn’t remember shaking him that hard.
He asked the jury, “If not her, then who? If not abusive head trauma, then what?” He said he was not there to demonize Cox, but that Jeremiah’s life mattered. He made a few additional comments and then asked the jury to return a verdict that speaks for Jeremiah.
After his comments, the judge charged the jury and sent them for deliberations.

Mistrial Declared
At approximately 9:35 p.m. on Friday night after being given an Allen charge to try to reach a verdict, the jury informed Judge Michael Holt that they had reached an impasse and that they did not feel they could reach a result in the case of the State v. Judy Cox, who is charged with homicide by child abuse in the death of five-month-old Jeremiah Thompson.
Solicitor Shipp Daniel thanked the jury for their service and the dignity that everyone conducted themselves with, and Defense Attorney Rose Mary Parham also thanked the jury. Judge Holt told the jury that they were picked for a reason. He said he hoped that their jury service had been a rewarding experience. “You served your community and did your duty, and I appreciate it,” said Judge Holt.
Judge Holt then declared a mistrial.

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