SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The preliminary trial was underway Friday for the criminal murder trial of Earl Moore Jr.

Peggy Finley and Peter Cadigan are two EMS workers who are charged with first-degree murder. Body camera footage from the Springfield Police Department shows Finley and Cadigan put Moore Jr. on a stretcher face-down. Sangamon County Coroner Jim Allmon said Moore died of asphyxiation and classified his death as a homicide.

The first day of the preliminary trial began Friday. One key testimony that prosecutors entered Friday was a phone call from Finley to the Medical Intensive Care Unit on the way to HSHS St. John’s Hospital.

The call’s recording shows Finley saying she refused to take Moore Jr.’s vitals as she did not “want to poke the bear”.

According to court testimony from the sergeant, HSHS did not receive vitals from Finley and Cadigan upon arriving with Moore at the hospital.

Also revealed was training records from May and June 2022 that both EMS technicians received that included instruction to not place anyone in a prone position.

The defense lawyers argued the EMS workers did not physically do anything wrong.

“I will go on the record, and I don’t ever do this: they will never convict him of first-degree murder,” Edward Unsell, Peter Cadigan’s attorney said. “Never.”

“This is different if she pulled a gun out and shot him,” W. Scott Henken, Peggy Finley’s lawyer said. “But can you imagine the scope of people saying that you killed someone, when in fact, you didn’t affirmingly do anything to do so? It’d be terrifying.”

Finley, Cadigan, and their employer LifeStar all are being sued in civil court by Moore Jr.’s family for wrongful death. Ben Crump and Bob Hillard, the family’s lawyers, released a statement about the evidence uncovered from the preliminary hearing.

“Had Earl’s vitals been checked during his transport to the hospital, as was standard medical procedure, it would have been immediately apparent that he was in grave and life-threatening danger, from being tightly strapped face down on the gurney,” they said in a statement. “Instead, this man, a son and a loving brother, was compared to an animal and allowed to slowly and painfully suffocate inside of an ambulance filled with all the medical equipment necessary to have saved him.”