Mother in faith healing trial says she never thought son could die

Nearly two weeks of testimony ended Thursday in the trial of Jeffrey and Marci Beagley, who are charged with criminally negligent homicide for failing to provide medical care to their 16-year-old son. Neil Beagley died in June 2008 of complications from a congenital urinary blockage that had never been treated.

After closing arguments today, the case will go to a jury.

Video:Beagley family decides to wait out illness

The family belongs to the Followers of Christ, an Oregon City church that relies on faith healing rather than medical care.

Prosecutor Steven Mygrant pressed Marci Beagley about the day her son died. He repeatedly challenged her to explain her and her husband’s thoughts and actions as their son grew weak and eventually stopped breathing.

She said Neil didn’t want to go to a doctor and said he didn’t need to go.

Was it his choice or yours? Mygrant asked.

It was “a combination of things,” she answered, including her son’s wishes, her personal faith and consulting with her husband.

Mygrant asked Beagley to describe the specific symptoms she observed when Neil got sick in June.

She started to explain how the unexpected death of her granddaughter, Ava Worthington, in March 2008 had affected Neil’s physical and emotional health and devastated her family. The girl died of an untreated blood infection, one in a long history of Followers of Christ children who have died in past decades from treatable medical conditions.

Everyone felt the pain of Ava’s death, Beagley said. “It was where our family was with what was going on in our lives.”


– Source / Full Story: Marci Beagley defends choice to ‘wait it out’ in Oregon City faith-healing case, Steven Mayes, The Oregonian, Jan. 28, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog

Both sides in the trial of the faith-healing death of Neil Beagley rested Thursday after Neil’s mother took the stand and told jurors about her last months and days with her son.

Marci Beagley told the court that Neil had never complained of trouble urinating or of pain urinating, contrary to the testimony of a witness last week who recalled a conversation from 10 years ago in which Marci Beagley supposedly said Neil had pain when he urinated.

She also said she never thought Neil was going to die.

“At some point in the afternoon we laid hands on him again and I thought he seemed better,” she told the court. “He just seemed to be acting calm and he said he was tired, just wanted to rest and asked me to please let him sleep, ‘don’t wake me up to feed me.’

“I went in to lay down and when I got up and went back in there he had stopped breathing.”

Jeff and Marci Beagley face criminally negligent homicide charges in the faith-healing death of their teenage son, who died June 17, 2008, from complications due to an inflammation in his urinary tract, according to the county medical examiner’s office.

– Source / Full Story: Mother takes stand, says she never thought son could die, Matthew Graham, The Oregon City News, Jan. 28, 2010 — Summarized by Religion News Blog


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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday January 29, 2010.
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