Couple Stands Trial in Son's Faith-Healing Death

By MaryClaire Dale
|  Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013  |  Updated 8:33 PM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Herbert and Catherine Schaible are being held in prison after their 8-month-old son Brandon died from bacterial pneumonia. The Schaibles decided to pray for the illness to go away, rather than taking their son to the doctors. NBC10's Monique Braxton reports with the latest.

NBC10 - Monique Braxton

Herbert and Catherine Schaible are being held in prison after their 8-month-old son Brandon died from bacterial pneumonia. The Schaibles decided to pray for the illness to go away, rather than taking their son to the doctors. NBC10's Monique Braxton reports with the latest.

Related Stories
Photos and Videos

Faith-Healing Couple Remains Behind Bars

The Philadelphia faith-healing couple charged with the murder of their child will stay behind bars for now. They had a chance to get out on bail, but in court, there was a new twist to the case. NBC10's Luann Cahn was in this morning's hearing.

Bail Revoked for Faith-Healing Couple

A Philadelphia judge revoked bail for Herbert and Catherine Schaible Friday, calling them a flight risk. The couple is charged with the third-degree murder of their son. Prosecutors say they chose to pray instead of getting the 7-month-old medical care.
More Photos and Videos

A Philadelphia couple who believes in faith healing over medicine was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on murder charges in the second pneumonia death of one of their children in a four-year span.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible remained held without bail on third-degree murder charges after their preliminary hearing.

Their two-year-old son Kent died in 2009, followed by 8-month-old Brandon in April. Prosecutors contend both boys were sick for nearly two weeks.

The Schaibles are both third-generation members and former teachers at their small fundamentalist Christian church, the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia. They have seven surviving children.

"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,'' Herbert Schaible, 44, said in a police statement read in court Wednesday. Medicine, he said, "is against our religious beliefs."

Added his wife, in her statement: "It means that we pray and ask to be healed the way that Jesus did when he was on Earth.''

A jury had convicted them of involuntary manslaughter in Kent's death, and 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 and sent them to prison.

However, defense lawyer Bobby Hoof, fighting the murder charge Wednesday, said Brandon's autopsy states that he had symptoms for just three days.

"It's not unreasonable for parents to wait three days to seek medical care,'' Hoof argued.

Prosecutors have 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. And the evidence shows he had food in his system, she said.

"This was a mother who certainly, until the very end, was giving this child a lot of love. To take from that that she acted with malice was more than just a stretch,'' public defender Mythri Jayaraman said after the hearing.

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.

Their other children, the oldest nearly 18, are now in foster care.

The Schaibles return to court July 3 to be formally arraigned on murder, involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and conspiracy charges.
 
 

 


Get the latest from NBC10 Philadelphia anytime: Android/iPhone/iPad Apps | SMS Alerts | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | Instagram | RSS

Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print
Leave Comments
What's New
10 Questions With
We sit down with some of the... Read more
Follow Us
Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
Send Us Your Story Tips
Check Out