Madeline Kara Neumann Archive

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Father found guilty in prayer death of his daughter

Man guilty in prayer death of daughter

WAUSAU — A Wisconsin man accused of killing his 11-year-old daughter by praying instead of seeking medical care was found guilty Saturday of second- degree reckless homicide.

Dale Neumann Found Guilty

Dale Neumann, 47, was convicted in the March 23, 2008, death of his daughter, Madeline, from undiagnosed diabetes.

Prosecutors contended he should have rushed the girl to a hospital because she could not walk, talk, eat or speak.

Instead, Madeline died on the floor of the family’s rural Weston home as people surrounded her and prayed. Someone called 911 when she stopped breathing.

Neumann’s 41-year-old wife, Leilani, was convicted on the same charge in the spring and is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 6. Both face up to 25 years in prison.

– Source / Full Story: Man guilty in prayer death of daughter, AP via the Wausau Daily Herald, Aug. 2, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Praying man let his daughter die

During the trial, medical experts told the court that Neumann’s daughter could have survived if she had received treatment, including insulin and fluids, before she stopped breathing.

On Thursday Neumann, who is 47 and studied in the past to be a Pentecostal minister, said he thought God would heal his daughter.

“If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God,” he said. “I am not believing what he said he would do.”

He also said he thought his daughter had had flu or a fever, and that he had not realised how ill she was.

Neumann’s lawyer said he had been convinced that his “faith healing” was working, and that he had committed no crime.

The prosecution argued that Neumann had minimised his daughter’s illness and that he had allowed her to die as a selfish act of faith.

They said the girl should have been taken to hospital because she was unable to walk, talk, eat or drink.

Instead, an ambulance was only called once the girl had stopped breathing.

– Source / Full Story: Praying man let his daughter die , BBC, Aug. 2, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Jury finds Dale Neumann guilty in prayer death case

Dale and Leilani Neumann share a life together, a family, a strong love of God and a belief that all things can be healed by prayer.

Now, they also have in common convictions on charges of second-degree reckless homicide.

But how will Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Howard view the couple when he sentences them Oct. 6? Are they the negligent and uncaring parents that prosecutors portrayed during Dale Neumann’s weeklong trial on reckless homicide charges? Or are they devout Christians who were faithful to their convictions and already have been punished by the loss of their child, 11-year-old Madeline Kara Neumann, as defense attorneys contended?

Shawn Francis Peters, author of “When Prayer Fails: Faith Healing, Children, and the Law,” who tracks faith-healing cases across the country, thinks Howard will tend toward the latter. He said Howard, if he proceeds as other jurists have, likely will order a short jail stay followed by extended supervision.

“The judge has to decide what is in the best interest of the surviving children,” Peters said. The Neumanns’ three surviving children are ages 18, 16, and 14.

Whatever the sentence, the case is not over. Following Leilani Neumann’s conviction May 22, her attorney, Gene Linehan, said he will appeal the case to a higher court. Dale Neumann’s attorney, Jay Kronenwetter, made just one comment Saturday as he left the courtroom: He, too, will appeal.

The law also remains unclear, with legislators still pledging to act to close the holes that allowed this case to be tried in the first place. Kronenwetter told jurors in his closing argument that they could contact legislators to share their views.

The certain appeals notwithstanding, Howard will base his sentence on the testimony he heard during both trials. It will be left to him to determine how culpable the Neumanns are in the death of their child.

Unlike Leilani Neumann’s trial, in which neither she nor her husband testified, both took the stand in this trial.

For the first time, the depth of the Neumanns’ faith was revealed. With his Bible in his hand, Dale Neumann took jurors on a four-hour description of his journey from life as a young man who partied and drank hard to a family man who sought to walk in the steps of Jesus. Quoting scripture and speaking with great conviction, Neumann made it obvious that he had no regrets about his decision.

“If I in a moment of crisis and in a moment of time, I went to anyone else but the Lord, it would not have been favorable to God,” Neumann said.

Kronenwetter told jurors during closing arguments that Dale Neumann’s devout faith all but required him to trust God to heal Kara.

“The idea that Dale Neumann was aware that choosing faith healing instead of taking his daughter to the doctor was causing a risk of great bodily harm or death is just preposterous,” Kronenwetter said.

– Source / Full Story: Jury finds Dale Neumann guilty in prayer death case, Jeff Starck, Wausau Daily Herald, Aug. 2, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

See also

Research resources on faith healing
Timeline of the Neumann case

Father on trial in faith healing death of daughter; convicted mother defends actions

Wis. dad of dead girl says he trusted God to heal

WAUSAU, Wis. — A central Wisconsin father charged with reckless homicide for not taking his dying daughter to a doctor told police that he believed God would heal her and that he thought she was simply sleeping when she became unconscious.

Madeline Neumann died on March 23, 2008, from undiagnosed diabetes on the floor of the family’s rural Weston home as people surrounded the 11-year-old girl and prayed. Someone called 911 when she stopped breathing.

Faith Healing
The term ‘faith healing’ refers to healing that occurs supernaturally — as the result of prayer rather than the use of medicines or the involvement of physicians or other medical care.
But while faith healings do take place today just as they did in the early Christian church, the teachings of some churches, movements and individuals on this subject amount to spiritual abuse.
Legitimate churches and movements do not equal using drugs or receiving proper medical attention with unbelief, insufficient faith, or otherwise sinning against God.

Commentary/resources by

Prosecutors contend her father, Dale Neumann, had a legal duty to take his weakened daughter to a doctor. A videotape of his interview with police after her death was shown to jurors during his trial Wednesday before prosecutors rested their case.

Neumann, 47, told the judge that he planned to testify in his defense.

The family does not belong to an organized religion, and Neumann’s wife, Leilani Neumann, testified Tuesday that she and her husband have nothing against doctors. But, she said, she viewed Madeline’s illness as “something spiritual.”

Leilani Neumann was convicted of second-degree reckless homicide this spring and faces up to 25 years in prison when sentenced Oct. 6.

– Source / Full Story: Wis. dad of dead girl says he trusted God to heal, Robert Imrie, AP, July 30, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

During more than four hours of testimony during the trial of her husband, Leilani Neumann defended the couple’s rejection of medical intervention for their 11-year-old daughter, Madeline Kara Neumann.

Two doctors previously testified that Kara, as she was known, could have been saved with medical treatment up until just before she perished.

Leilani Neumann, who was convicted of the same charge in May, was called to testify by prosecutors, who granted her immunity from additional charges. Throughout her testimony, she described how her trust in God has grown and at least twice quoted Scripture or cited Bible passages. Leilani Neumann told jurors she is not against doctors, but finds their practice of medicine to not be biblical in nature.

“It would have shown complete disobedience to what we believe in,” Leilani Neumann said, when asked why she didn’t seek medical help for her daughter.

Later she said, “I fully thought (Kara) would recover and even the lifelessness was something she would come out of and it would be OK.”

When asked by Marathon County Assistant District Attorney LaMont Jacobson if she believed sickness is caused by sin, Leilani Neumann explained that God doesn’t want people to harbor disobedience and unforgiveness inside themselves and that there is a spiritual root cause to sickness. She testified that a falling out with former friends and potential business partners, Randy and Althea Wormgoor, might have caused Kara to become ill.

“Our feelings are that there was something spiritually wrong with her,” Leilani Neumann said.

– Source / Full Story: Faith-healing mom defends actions, Jeff Starck, Gannett Wisconsin Media via the Wausau Daily Herald, July 30, 2009 — Summarized by Religion News Blog