OROVILLE — Because the wife has retained new counsel, a Paradise couple charged with the murder of one adopted daughter and torture of her sister, did not enter pleas to the charges in court Thursday.
Meanwhile, prosecutors have disclosed that a book by a Tennessee-based fundamentalist Christian ministry, espousing “biblical chastisement” with the same quarter-inch plumber’s supply line alleged to have been used in the ridge beatings, was found in the Paradise home of Kevin Schatz, 46, and Elizabeth Schatz, 42.
Chico attorneys Kevin Sears and Dennis Latimer Thursday were granted permission by a judge to replace the public defender who had originally been appointed by the court to represent Elizabeth Schatz.
Earlier in the week, the district attorney had alleged the Schatzes “took turns” holding down two adopted daughters and striking them repeatedly with the rubberized plumber’s line during separate discipline sessions on Feb. 4 and 5.
The youngest girl, Lydia Schatz, age 7, died en route to the hospital.
Authorities believe the alleged beatings caused a breakdown of muscle tissue that shut down the younger girl’s kidneys and other vital organs.
Police recovered four of the rubber or plastic plumbing lines that all the children in the home told investigators were being used by their parents to discipline them, according to Ramsey.
Also seized, he said, was a book written by Michael and Debi Pearl, a Tennessee fundamentalist Christian couple, whose “No Greater Joy” ministry endorses “training” children to be more obedient to God and their parents through several means, including spanking with the plumbing implement.
Ramsey said he didn’t believe the Pearls could be held criminally liable in connection with the Paradise girl’s death because they had “warned against injury to a child.”
The “No Greater Joy” books and CDs stress spankings should never be done out of anger, nor should result in physical injuries to a child.