California woman paralyzed by boyfriend's beating dies

Sacramento BeeSeptember 7, 2011 

When Tim Dunn needed an emotional lift, he visited his good friend Cindy Hammond.

Hammond no longer could be his dance partner, at least in the traditional way, after a savage beating by her boyfriend two years ago left her paralyzed from the shoulders down.

But she still had her voice, which Dunn and other friends relied upon to lift their spirits.

That voice grew silent a few weeks ago, when Hammond developed a severe infection and pneumonia related to her paralysis. She died Monday after doctors disconnected life support.

"Despite everything she went through, Cindy never lost the ability to embrace life," said Dunn, her friend of nearly a decade. "She never changed her outlook. This is a great, big void that we will have a hard time filling."

The Sacramento District Attorney's Office will consider filing murder charges against Hammond's former boyfriend, Joe McCoy, 51, who is in prison for 25 years to life for the beating that left her quadriplegic. A murder conviction could mean a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole, said prosecutor Ruanne Dozier.

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