By Tony Hanson

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Philadelphia judge today reaffirmed his sentence for a Philadelphia couple convicted in the deaths of two children, four years apart.

In each case the parents chose prayer over medicine when their young children got sick (see previous stories).

Following a request by Herbert and Catherine Schaible to have their 3½-to-seven year sentence reconsidered, Judge Benjamin Lerner said today he considered all factors but thinks his previous sentence is appropriate and fits the crime and the criminals.

Prosecutor Joanne Pescatore, who had argued at the original sentencing for an 8-to-16 year sentence for the Schaibles, had asked the judge to reconsider.

“We were trying to impress upon the judge that this is a light sentence based on the fact they were on probation for the same thing — it was one child and now it’s a second child — and it’s a third-degree murder now.  So they are in a different posture now than they were after that first case,” she told KYW Newsradio afterward.

Pescatore, haunted by this case, says she is also concerned that the Schiables could eventually get custody of their remaining children — the youngest is now four — when they get out of prison.  And she told the judge she didn’t want to be standing in front of the court four or five years from now making the same argument.

The judge and defense contend it is almost certain that the defendants will never have custodial care of their minor children.

The prosecution could still appeal to a higher court.

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