By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Citing a potential flight risk, a Philadelphia judge orders a faith healing couple to remain in custody for now as they await a preliminary hearing next month on murder charges in the death of their seven-month-old son (see related story).
Authorities allege Herbert and Catherine Schaible chose religion over medicine, praying over their son as he succumbed to dehydration and pneumonia. It’s the second time a son has died.
The Schaible’s are serving a ten-year sentence of probation for the death of a three-year-old son in 2009 under similar circumstances.. A key order of probation was to seek medical care if their children got sick.
Prosecutor Joanne Pescatore argued the Schaible’s should remain in custody:
“I think they do respect the court in some respects, you know they show up. But are they going to do what they are told, obviously we see now when they are up against it, they are not, and they didn’t,” she said.
The judge says he’s concerned other like-minded people could assist the couple in fleeing, so he has ordered the Schaible’s held for now, but indicated he might reconsider later.
Defense attorney Bobby Hoof argued Herbert Schaible is not a flight risk saying Schaible has the faith to do what he believes, and the principle to show up for court.
But Judge Benjamin Lerner responded that Herbert Schaible dishonored the court by not following the most important court condition of probation, by not caring for the sick baby.
Judge Lerner continued, citing Herbert Schaible’s statement to police, “of course we didn’t take him to the Doctor because it would have been a violation of our faith to do so.”
Hoof says Herbert Schaible is resolute and strong willed.
“You have to understand that he has lost two children in, I think it is, a period of three years. He is mourning this son, so he is hurting as any dad would,” said Hoof.
The defendants, in custody, were not in court.