Amoore psych exam request
Prosecutors seek psychiatric exam for accused Upper Merion baby kidnapper
COURTHOUSE » Prosecutors have asked a judge to order a Chester County woman to cooperate with a prosecution psychiatrist seeking to evaluate her mental condition now that she has hinted she was legally insane when she allegedly kidnapped a baby from its mother at the King of Prussia Plaza shopping complex.
In court papers filed Monday, Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Brianna Ringwood asked Judge William R. Carpenter to order Cheri Amoore to appear and cooperate at a Nov. 9 examination by Dr. John S. O’Brien at the county detective bureau in Norristown. Ringwood suggested that defense lawyer Marc Steinberg and a detective may be present during the examination.
Ringwood indicated in court papers she is seeking the judge’s order because the parties have failed to reach an agreement regarding O’Brien’s proposed examination of Amoore.
“Specifically, where a criminal defendant has provided notice of his/her intent to assert an insanity defense at trial, the court, upon motion of the commonwealth, shall order the defendant to submit to an examination by the commonwealth’s mental health expert,” Ringwood wrote in court papers citing state law.
In July, Amoore, 32, of the 900 block of Upper Gulph Road, Tredyffrin, through Steinberg, notified the judge she would wage an insanity defense at her upcoming trial.
“Defendant suffered from dissociative episode second-
ary to false pregnancy and subsequent depression,” Steinberg wrote in court papers at that time, indicating he intends to call two psychiatrists and a forensic psychologist at trial “to establish said defense.”
Under state law, a person who is diagnosed as insane suffers from a mental defect that prevents them from knowing right from wrong or from realizing the nature and quality of their actions.
A person who is determined to be not guilty by reason of insanity at trial initially could be committed to a mental health facility for treatment and receive periodic evaluations. Once that person is deemed “cured” of mental illness they could be released from supervision with no requirement to serve any jail time.
Following the filing of the defense notice Ringwood responded in court papers that she intends to call upon O’Brien to examine and evaluate Amoore’s mental condition and whether she was criminally responsible for her actions at the time of the alleged offense.
Amoore, whose mother is Pennsylvania Republican Party Deputy Chairwoman Renee Amoore, is awaiting trial on charges of kidnapping, false imprisonment, unlawful restraint, recklessly endangering another person, endangering the welfare of a child, concealment of whereabouts of a child and interference with the custody of a child in connection with the March 31 abduction of 7-weekold Ashir Simmons.
Amoore has pleaded not guilty to the charges. A trial date has not yet been set.
The baby was found unharmed at Amoore’s residence following an extensive five-hour search involving multiple law enforcement agencies.
Authorities alleged surveillance video shows Amoore approaching Simmons’ mother at the Plaza about 5:40 p.m., sitting down with her at the food court in the lower level, engaging her in conversation and then absconding with the infant as the mother was tending to another child. The child’s mother did not know Amoore, detectives said.
The video showed Amoore leaving the shopping center with the baby, taking two steps at a time as she hurried up a stairwell leading to a mall exit, according to the criminal complaint.
Through information provided by witnesses, investigators were able to identify Amoore as the person who abducted the baby, according to court documents. At 10:18 p.m., investigators went to Amoore’s residence.
“I took the baby and I am sorry,” Amoore allegedly told detectives as she answered the door.
The baby was found inside the apartment uninjured and asleep in a car seat belonging to Amoore, according to the arrest affidavit.
Amoore told police that she had taken the baby in a rush of emotions caused by losing her own baby in February, according to the criminal complaint.
“I don’t know why I did it. I can’t explain it. I held him and all those feelings rushed back,” Amoore told detectives, according to the criminal complaint. “I just wanted my baby. It felt like I was holding my son again. It felt so good. I didn’t want to lose that feeling. I was crazy. I never intended to do anything like this.”
Amoore posted $500,000 bail April 6 and was released from the Montgomery County Correctional Facility to await further court action.