Mom on trial for daugher’s faith healing death falls ill
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Monday May 18, 2009
Prayer mom falls ill at trial
A woman who refused to seek medical attention for her dying daughter needed medical help herself after falling ill Saturday about 20 minutes into her trial on a second-degree reckless homicide charge.
Opening statements were delayed 30 minutes after Leilani Neumann was led from the courtroom by her husband, Dale, and his attorney, Jay Kronen-wetter. As prosecutors recounted the hours before Madeline Kara Neumann’s death, Neumann put her head down on the table. After several minutes, her attorney Gene Linehan interrupted the proceedings and told Judge Vincent Howard that Neumann had no feeling in her arms and legs and “needed some air.”
The jury was led out while Leilani was helped from the courtroom.
“She is having a complete mental and emotional breakdown. It is clear she can’t help in her defense,” Linehan said at the time.
Howard ordered paramedics to be called to evaluate her condition. Members of the Wausau Fire Department checked Neumann’s blood pressure and monitored her heart and she was cleared to return to the courtroom without additional medical help, Linehan said.
Leilani, 41, was brought back to the courtroom in a wheelchair. She moved to a regular chair and told Howard she was ready to continue.
Relatives testify today in trail of mother accused of choosing prayer over medical help
Testimony was supposed to begin Saturday in Leilani Neumann’s trial in Marathon County.
But soon after prosecutor Lamont Jacobson began his opening statement, the Neumann, 41, fainted at the defense table.
Paramedics checked her out, and placed her in a wheelchair after finding that her vital signs were normal.
The statements then resumed, but Circuit Judge Vincent Howard waited until this morning to have the state present its first witnesses.
But Jacobson stuck to the medical facts in his opening statement, and said Madeline Kara Neumann, 11, could have recovered had she gotten proper care.
Defense attorney Gene Linehan said Leilani Neumann did not knowingly cause her daughter’s death from diabetic complications.
Meanwhile, Judge Howard told the defense it could not call a Texas faith healer as an expert witness.
Immediately after Jacobson finished Defense Attorney Gene Linehan began his opening statement. He said, “This will be a very sad case. There are no winners here. We have a dead child and also a mother with a lost child.”
Linehan says Leilani Neumann will get the chance to tell her side of the story, “Leilani’s going to take the stand and tell you exactly how it is.”
According to Linehan, Neumann did not know her child was going to die and she truly believes she did the right thing by praying, for Madeline or Kara as she was called by family.
Linehan says, “She will also tell you she honestly believes that she has done absolutely the right thing for her daughter, not only that, but it’s what her daughter would have her wanted to do, Kara was also a very religious person.”
Both the proscutor and the defense attorney told the jury members it is up to them to make a decision once they’ve seen and heard all of the evidence and testimony in the case.
After opening statements, Judge Vincent Howard announced his decision on the prosecution’s motion to withold testimony from an expert in faith-based healing for the defense. Judge Howard said his ultimate decision is that such testimony is not clearly relevant to the case and will therefore not be allowed.
Dale Neumann is not allowed in the courtroom until he testifies in the “prayer death” case. [...]
Dale Neumann is the father of Kara and the husband of Leilani Neumann. He will be sequestered until he is set to testify later this week.
• Neumann trial updates, Wausau Daily Herald
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