Pediatrician testifies in Paddock trial

May 27, 2008 4:55:17 PM PDT
Tuesday morning, jurors were out of the courtroom as the judge heard from Doctor Sharon Cooper, a pediatrician specializing in child abuse and child homicide.Cooper, a developmental and forensic pediatrician was called by Lynn Paddock's lawyers to testify for the court on whether Paddock's youngest adoptive children should be allowed to speak in front of jurors.

"I believe that the reason we are here today is not just about Sean's homicide but in fact it's about all the abuse these children experienced," Dr. Cooper said. "The issue is whether this testimony is admissible under 404b and that's the court's decision."

Paddock, 47, is accused of killing four-year-old Sean Paddock. He suffocated February 2006 after being wrapped so tightly in blankets he couldn't breathe. Paddock is also accused of abusing Sean and several other adopted children in the home by beating them with PVC pipe and forcing them to eat their own feces.

Cooper interviewed the other children in the home: David, 11, Hannah, 9, and Kayla, 10 and told the Johnston County judge Tuesday that the children will be emotionally traumatized if they are forced to face Lynn Paddock in court.

The prosecution wants the children to testify on the stand in front of a jury, but Cooper told the judge the children should offer their testimony through a live video feed.

"They did one abuse on one day in the life of the Paddock home," Cooper explained. "They were abused by the time they came and were adopted by Ms. Paddock, so I have to take issue with what you said, it's not about that one day in February 2006 but what happened to these children the whole time they were in care and custody of Ms. Lynn Paddock."

Prosecutors fought hard to keep the witness from being allowed to reveal her expert opinions on the abuse she felt occurred in the home out of concern it might sway jurors. The judge will make the final decision.


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