Pa. couple sent to prison for 2nd prayer death of child
AP 4:10 p.m. EST February 19, 2014
AP Prayer Deaths Children
Second child was sick but wasn't taken to a doctor
Couple believed in faith-healing
Pleaded no contest to third-degree murder in son's death last year from pneumonia
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A couple who believed in faith-healing were sentenced Wednesday to 3½ to seven years in prison in the death of a second child who was sick but didn't see a doctor.
A judge told Herbert and Catherine Schaible that it wasn't 8-month-old Brandon's time to die.
"You've killed two of your children ... not God, not your church, not religious devotion — you," Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner said.
The Schaibles pleaded no contest to third-degree murder in Brandon's death last year from pneumonia. They are third-generation members of a small Pentacostal community, the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia.
Both expressed remorse and apologized for violating a court order to seek medical care for their children after the 2009 death of a 2-year-old son of untreated pneumonia.
They have seven surviving children.
Last year, Herbert Schaible told police that medicine "is against our religious beliefs." He said, "We believe in divine healing, that Jesus shed blood for our healing and that he died on the cross to break the devil's power."
A jury had convicted both parents of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 death of son Kent. They were put on 10 years of probation that included orders to seek medical care if any other child got sick.
After Brandon's death, an irate judge found they had violated parole.
Prosecutors had described the boys' symptoms as "eerily similar," and said they included labored breathing and a refusal to eat. Catherine Schaible's lawyer, though, said her client tried to feed Brandon during his illness and applied baby powder to keep him comfortable.
Their pastor, Nelson Clark, has said the Schaibles lost their sons because of a "spiritual lack" in their lives and insisted they would not seek medical care even if another child appeared near death.