Wisconsin couple in prayer-death case seek freedom

CREATED Dec. 18, 2013

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WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of a Wisconsin couple who prayed instead of seeking help as their 11-year-old daughter died from a treatable form of diabetes.

That means Dale and Leilani Neumann of Weston must now return to Marathon County court next month for a judge to decide whether they'll begin serving their court-ordered sentences, which had been postponed pending an appeal, the Daily Herald Media reported.
   
Separate juries convicted the parents of second-degree reckless homicide in 2009. A judge ordered them to serve one month in jail per year for six years, a concession intended to ease the burden of caring for the couple's surviving children, but the sentences were postponed.
   
To date, neither parent has spent a day in jail. A judge will decide the next steps Jan. 30.
 
   
Dale Neumann's defense attorney, Steven L. Miller, said he'll ask the judge to toss the sentences outright.
   
"The long and the short of it is, these people have been through enough," Miller said.
   
But prosecutor Lance Leonhard said there's no reason to delay their sentences any longer, and that they should begin serving immediately.
   
"All the issues have been resolved," Leonhard said. "The judge permitted a stay for the appeals process to conclude. Well, that process has now concluded. There is nowhere else this case can go."
   
The Neumanns' daughter, Madeline Kara Neumann, died of undiagnosed diabetes at home in March 2008. Doctors testified that she'd have had a good chance of survival if she'd received medical care in time.
   
She had been growing weak for several weeks and eventually became too sick to speak, eat, drink or walk. Her parents resisted suggestions from her grandmother to take her to a doctor, saying medical intervention would take the glory away from God.
   
Dale Neumann testified that the possibility of death never entered their minds. After the girl died, Leilani Neumann told police God would raise Kara from the dead.
   
The Neumanns don't belong to any organized religion or church but identify themselves as Pentecostal Christians. They say they believe visiting a doctor is akin to worshipping an idol.