John Adkins

John Adkins, uncle of the four children involved in the case, appears before Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Mark Willis on Monday.

PRINCETON — Three counts of child neglect charges related to the siblings of a deceased 20-month-old, whose parents, aunt and uncle were charged in his death, have been dropped.

Mercer County Circuit Court Judge Mark Willis on Monday accepted the state’s agreement with defense attorney Earl Hager’s motion that the charges of child neglect resulting in serious bodily injury related to the siblings should be dismissed.

However, the charges of child neglect resulting in death and murder of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian will stand and the trial is set for Sept. 3.

Hager was in court with one of the defendants, John Adkins, the uncle of the four children involved in the case.

Hager said the only injuries to the siblings as a result of any neglect was “minor” and no permanent injuries were in the medical report.

Assistant Prosecutor David Pfeifer said when the medical records of the siblings were received they contained nothing “of any sort of abuse.”

Adkins, his wife Janet, and the parents, Corey Moore, 29, and Christy Moore, 27, all were charged after the malnourished and underweight 20-month-old boy died shortly after being taken to the Princeton Community Hospital ER in November 2018.

All lived in the same house in Princeton.

The three siblings had not received any medical care at that time and they also had lice and appeared “malnourished.” The home was infested with cockroaches.

Prosecuting Attorney George Sitler said at the time of the arrest that the child, who weighed only 14 pounds, died from what appeared to be starvation. The initial report showed the contents of the baby’s stomach to include lint from a bedspread and a bug.

Sitler said at the preliminary hearing that the Moores’ young son was neglected, and actions, or inaction, by the parents to seek medical attention and malnutrition were “so gross and egregious they led to the child’s death.”

Detective Sgt. S.A. Sommers of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department testified at a preliminary hearing in November, saying the child had been brought to the ER by Christy Moore “in bad shape,” and medical personnel worked with him as a helicopter was called in to transport him to another facility. But as the child was being taken out to the helicopter he “went into cardiac arrest.”

Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Sommers said Christy Moore told him at the time (Nov. 8) that the child had been sick since about Oct. 31 with a “cold,” and had stopped eating and he started losing weight.

Corey Moore and Christy Moore remain incarcerated at Southern Regional Jail on $25,000 cash-only bonds. John Adkins and Janet Adkins remain free on bond.

In West Virginia, the penalty for child neglect resulting in death is three to 15 years in jail. For murder of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian, it is considered first-degree murder and punishable by life in prison.

 — Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com