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Matthew Spellman Eappen
Birth: May 24, 1996
Boston
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA
Death: Feb. 9, 1997
Boston
Suffolk County
Massachusetts, USA

Murder Victim. He was killed by his nanny, Louise Woodward, a British au pair who was convicted of second-degree murder for having shaken him violently. The trial brought to light an unregulated business, in-home nanny care, i.e. untrained people hired to care for children while their parents are both working for a living. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, the only child of Doctors Sunil and Deborah Eappen, both physicians, he was left in the care of a British au pair, Louise Woodward, then age 19 years. On February 4, 1997, Louise called police to report the baby was having trouble breathing. Reponding paramedics discovered that young Matthew had a two and half inch skull fracture. He was placed on life support, but died five days later, on February 9. An autopsy also revealed that in addition to the skull fracture, Matthew had a month-old wrist fracture. The autopsy indicated that Matthew had died from massive bleeding inside his skull, apparently from a combination of extraordinary violent shaking and severe contact with a hard flat surface. Woodward confessed to police that she had shaken the baby, dropped him on the floor, and once had thrown him into his bed. On October 30, 1997, the jury convicted her of second-degree murder, which carried a mandatory sentence of life in prison, with the possibility of parole after fifteen years, and the next morning, Woodward was so sentenced. Several days later, her attorney, Barry Scheck, filed a three part motion to either: set aside the verdict and dismiss the case, set aside the verdict in favor of a new trial, or to reduce the charge to simple manslaughter. To the surprise of the general public, Judge Hiller Zobel reversed the jury's verdict, citing a lack of malice by Woodward and reducing the finding to manslaughter, and sentencing Woodward to time served. This verdict allowed Woodward to leave jail immediately, and she quickly returned to her home in England. Surprisingly, a split decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Court affirmed the judge's jury reversal. Later the Eappens sued Woodward in a wrongful death civil lawsuit, which Woodward defaulted on. Woodward spent a total of 279 days in jail, and at last report (late 2004), was working as a lawyer in England. Judge Zobel defended his decision by claiming that "the circumstances in which the Defendant acted were characterized by confusion, inexperience, frustration, immaturity and some anger, but not malice." Frustrated by her inability to quiet the crying child, she was a little rough with him, under circumstances where another, perhaps wiser, person would have sought to restrain the physical impulse. (bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson) 

Cause of death: Murdered
 
Burial:
All Saints Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum
Des Plaines
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Section 41, Block 40, Lot 13, Grave 1
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 2150
Matthew Spellman Eappen
Added by: Precious Children
 
Matthew Spellman Eappen
Added by: death2ur
 
Matthew Spellman Eappen
Added by: death2ur
 
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