Murder Charges Retained Against NE Phila. Faith-Healing Couple
By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge today rejected a defense motion to dismiss the most serious charges against a local couple who allegedly chose faith-healing prayer over medicine, leading to the death of a second child.
Brandon Schaible died from dehydration and pneumonia in April, but the defense had argued there wasn’t the evidence of malice necessary to support a third-degree murder charge against Herbert and Catherine Schaible (see related story).
Defense attorney Bobby Hoof told the court that his client, Herbert Schaible, nursed his child, held and rocked him, and did not know the child was going to die.
But the couple had been in this situation before. Another child died from illness in 2009 (see related story), and the judge today noted that the earlier case had resulted in a court order.
“They were absolutely on notice,” notes Philadelphia prosecutor Joanne Pescatore, “and they had notice from the prior death of their other child that this could happen and this would happen. And they never took their child to the doctors or the hospital.”
The couple had promised as a result of the eariler case that they would seek medical treatment if any of their other children got sick or hurt. But, as the judge put it, they paid no more attention to that promise “than a puff of air.”
So the case now heads to trial. No date has been set.