No new trial for Palm Harbor woman convicted of manslaughter in day care

Published July 20, 2012

A judge has denied a motion to order a new trial or dismiss charges against Stephanie Spurgeon, a former Palm Harbor day care operator who was convicted of manslaughter in the death of a child.

After Spurgeon was convicted in February, defense attorneys learned the medical examiner had said it was theoretically possible for a young child to have caused the fatal injuries to Maria Harris, the infant who died. Attorneys filed the motion, saying this information should have been disclosed to them before trial.

But Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Chris Helinger on Friday ruled that this did not warrant dismissing the charges or ordering a new trial. She wrote that while Medical Examiner Jon Thogmartin did say it was anatomically possible for a child to cause such injuries, he also concluded "such a theory did not fit the circumstances of this case and has never been his opinion about this case," Helinger wrote

Because of that, Helinger said Thogmartin's statements weren't "exculpatory" ones that tended to prove Spurgeon's innocence.

Spurgeon is awaiting her sentence.