Judge: Father in faith-healing case too poor to hire attorney

Marathon County taxpayers will foot the legal bills for a town of Weston man accused of recklessly causing his 11-year-old daughter’s death by praying instead of taking her to a doctor.

Circuit Court Judge Vincent Howard appointed Wausau attorney Jay Kronenwetter to represent Dale Neumann at the county’s expense, even though Neumann and his wife own two homes valued at half a million dollars. See video here

Kronenwetter, who has yet to accept the appointment, was recommended by attorney Gene Linehan. Linehan represented Dale Neumann, 46, and his wife, Leilani, 40, on Wednesday and at the couple’s initial court appearance last week.

The Neumanns each face a second-degree reckless homicide charge in the March 23 death of their daughter Madeline Kara Neumann.

Dale Neumann said in a hearing Wednesday that although he and his wife own the two Weston-area homes, they have little more than $100 in savings and cannot afford to make their loan payments.

Linehan, who will continue to represent Leilani Neumann, said each of the cases likely will cost $100,000 in legal fees and might rack up more expenses if the cases end up in the state appeals and Supreme courts.

“I am willing to jeopardize my financial future because I believe that much in this case,” said Linehan, who said he probably will go bankrupt as a result of his involvement.

Linehan said he chose not to confiscate the couple’s two vehicles to help pay for his services. The couple so far has received $4,000 in donations for legal fees, he said.

Dale and Leilani Neumann are free on signature bonds of $200,000 each along with a $50,000 property bond.

Kara, 11, died Easter Sunday from complications of undiagnosed diabetes. Her parents, who told police they did not know she had diabetes, chose to pray instead of seeking medical help as their daughter grew progressively ill.

Marathon County Corporation Counsel Scott Corbett said the Neumanns have about $110,000 of equity in their real estate property, $50,000 of which is accounted for by the court-ordered property bond. Howard ordered an additional $50,000 lien placed against their equity at Corbett’s request.

Dale Neumann testified that the couple bought one home in Weston nearly three years ago for $290,000 and then a different home for $310,500. Neither he nor his wife made income in 2007 from a coffee shop they owned and operated in Weston, he said.

Sidebar: Neumann finances

Dale Neumann testified Wednesday during an indigency hearing about his family’s financial status. According to Neumann:

• He and his wife bought a home in Weston in September 2005 for $290,000.

• They refinanced debt and took out a new mortgage in November 2007, totaling $500,000. The mortgage included the purchase of a $310,500 home in the town of Weston, where they currently reside.

• Neither Dale nor Leilani Neumann was paid in 2007 by the business they own, Monkey Mo Coffee in Weston. Nine part-time employees receive slightly above minimum wage.

• They have been granted an extension on their income taxes until August because police confiscated all business records.

• They have $86 in a personal savings account and $1,500 in a business checking account. Dale Neumann has $25 in a savings account in California, where he formerly lived.

• Dale Neumann was employed by a security company for $9 an hour prior to working at the coffee shop.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday May 12, 2008.
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