Medical experts in Beagley defense cast doubt that family knew son could die
The defense in the faith-healing trial in the June 2008 death of 16-year-old Neil Beagley began its case Monday with a medical expert witness who said the teen’s symptoms weren’t necessarily so bad that a reasonable person would think he could have died.
The prosecution, laying its case last week, laid a foundation that the parents knew Neil’s condition was dire and failed to provide adequate medical care.
With its first witness, the defense hit back with the testimony that they could have thought Neil just had the flu, as other church members have said.
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Neil died on June 17, 2008. His parents, Jeff and Marci Beagley, are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which rejects doctors and medical treatment in favor of faith healing. They are charged with criminally negligent homicide in their son’s death.
The defense also brought in Dr. Janice Ophoven from Minnesota, who testified in the faith-healing trial this summer involving the death of the Beagleys’ 15-month-old granddaughter, Ava.
Ophoven said there very well could have been no sings that Neil’s condition was dire — she said too high levels of potassium in the body can shut down the heart with almost no warning, calling it a “silent killer.”
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