OROVILLE — A Paradise couple are scheduled to stand trial in November on murder and torture charges involving two adopted children.
Kevin Schatz, 40, and his wife, Elizabeth Schatz, 42, pleaded not guilty in Butte County Superior Court on Thursday to the charges, which could carry two life terms in prison.
They are accused of causing the death of a 7-year-old adopted girl and serious injuries to her 11-year-old sister during separate “biblical chastisements” with a whip-like instrument in February at the family home.
The ridge parents remain in custody, with bail set at $2 million each, pending a jury trial estimated to last three weeks beginning Nov. 1.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey alleged Thursday the ridge couple were influenced by a book found in the Schatz’s home written by a fundamentalist Christian group based in Tennessee, espousing the use of a quarter-inch rubberized or plastic plumber supply line to “train” children to be more obedient to their parents and God.
Earlier reports identify the ‘ministry’ mentioned:
Police recovered four of the rubber or plastic plumbing lines that all the children in the home told investigators were being used by their parents to discipline them, according to Ramsey.
Also seized, he said, was a book written by Michael and Debi Pearl, a Tennessee fundamentalist Christian couple, whose “No Greater Joy” ministry endorses “training” children to be more obedient to God and their parents through several means, including spanking with the plumbing implement.
Ramsey said he didn’t believe the Pearls could be held criminally liable in connection with the Paradise girl’s death because they had “warned against injury to a child.”
The “No Greater Joy” books and CDs stress spankings should never be done out of anger, nor should result in physical injuries to a child.