Wisconsin jury convicts father who relied on prayer to save dying child

WAUSAU, Wis. — A central Wisconsin man accused of killing his 11-year-old daughter by praying instead of seeking medical care was found guilty Saturday of second-degree reckless homicide.

Dale Neumann, 47, was convicted in the March 23, 2008, death of his daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes. Prosecutors contended he should have rushed the girl to a hospital because she couldn't walk, talk, eat or drink. Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family's rural Weston home as people surrounded her and prayed. Someone called 911 when she stopped breathing.

Sitting straight in his chair, Neumann stared at the jury as the verdict in a nearly empty courtroom was read. He declined to comment as he left the courthouse.

Defense attorney Jay Kronenwetter said the verdict would be appealed. He declined to comment further.

Prosecutors also declined to comment, citing a gag order.

Leilani Neumann, 41, was convicted on the same charge this spring. Marathon County Circuit Judge Vincent Howard set Oct. 6 for sentencing for both parents, who face up to 25 years in prison.

Their case is believed to be the first in Wisconsin involving faith healing in which someone died and another person was charged with a homicide.

Last month, an Oregon jury convicted Carl Brent of misdemeanor criminal mistreatment for relying on prayer instead of seeking medical care for his 15-month-old daughter, who died of pneumonia and a blood infection in March 2008. Both Brent and the child's mother, Raylene Worthington, were acquitted of a more serious manslaughter charge.

Wisconsin jury convicts father who relied on prayer to save dying child 08/01/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 1, 2009 11:24pm]

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