Couple pleads not guilty to torturing mentally disabled man

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Carlena Pinkerton, 27, and Joshua Pinkerton, 31, were in court Wednesday where they pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and vulnerable adult abuse. By Jennifer Thomas Carlena Pinkerton, 27, and Joshua Pinkerton, 31, were in court Wednesday where they pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and vulnerable adult abuse. By Jennifer Thomas
Carlena Pinkerton, 27. By Jennifer Thomas Carlena Pinkerton, 27. By Jennifer Thomas
Joshua Pinkerton, 31. By Jennifer Thomas Joshua Pinkerton, 31. By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- A Phoenix couple has entered a not guilty plea to charges that they tortured a mentally disabled man who eventually died.

Carlena Pinkerton, 27, and Joshua Pinkerton, 31, were in court Wednesday where they pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree murder and vulnerable adult abuse.

The Pinkertons were caregivers for Carlena’s brother, 22-year-old James Roy Moore, who suffered from severe mental retardation.

On June 1, the couple dropped Moore off at the Phoenix Indian Hospital in an unresponsive state. He was eventually transported to Banner Good Samaritan Hospital where he died.

Staff at the hospital called police when they noticed that Moore’s injuries included two black eyes, a collapsed lung, closed-head injuries, and multiple fractures. He had also suffered from dehydration and malnutrition, and had a 1-inch-long object in his throat, which was infected and swollen.

The Pinkertons denied abusing Moore, but during a search of their home police discovered a 2-by-4-foot room that contained just a water heater and a drain.

Investigators said evidence suggested that Moore had been kept in the room for long periods of time.

Carlena and Joshua Pinkerton were arrested in connection with Moore’s death on June 4. They’re due back in court on August 7.