Prayer mom broke, seeks public defender
The mother of an 11-year-old girl who died when her parents reportedly chose to pray for her recovery rather than seek medical treatment can no longer afford an attorney, nine weeks before her scheduled trial.
Gene Linehan, the attorney for Leilani Neumann of Weston, said Friday that he used $12,000 in donations to cover his expenses and to pay investigators.
The Neumanns’ home is approaching foreclosure, and Marathon County has a $50,000 lien on it as a condition of their bond, Linehan said. They have a net worth of minus $45,000 and are living on credit cards, which carry balances totaling $60,000, according to financial statements.
The defense fund donations were exhausted five months ago, and with Leilani and her husband, Dale Neumann, both unemployed, Linehan asked Marathon County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Howard whether Leilani Neumann might qualify for public assistance for her legal defense.
Dale and Leilani Neumann each are charged with reckless homicide in connection with the death of Madeline Kara Neumann on March 23, 2008.
Prosecutors say the Neumanns chose to pray for their daughter’s recovery rather than treat her diabetes. The Neumanns have argued their right to religious freedom means they cannot be prosecuted under current state law.