UPDATE: Prayer death case ruling upheld by State Supreme Court
MADISON (WAOW) -
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has ruled that a Weston mother and father, who prayed for their dying daughter instead of taking her to a doctor, were properly convicted of homicide.
"It's hard for them to hear the court didn't rule for them and they're just trying to cope the best way they know how," said Leilani Neumann's attorney, Byron Lichstein.
In 2009, Dale and Leilani Neumann of Weston were tried separately and convicted for the death of their 11-year-old daughter, Madeline Kara Neumann. She was better known as Kara.
The pair were sentenced to 6 months in jail and 10 years probation.
According to court records, the young girl became sick in 2008 and instead of seeking medical attention, her parents chose to pray for her healing.
Since the beginning, the couple has argued they believed in the power of God to heal the sick. Dale Neumann's lawyer from his original trial says the pair thought they were protected under the state's faith healing law.
"They are not violent people at all," said attorney Jay Kronenwetter.
But, in 2009, the couple was found guilty. Weeks later they appealed that ruling to a Wausau appeals court. In a written letter, an appeals court judge said the case is the first of its kind in the state and needs to be addressed at a higher level. So, last year the Wisconsin Supreme Court head arguments from both sides.
"They truly believed that was the way to heal her," Lichstein told the seven justices.
But the assistant district attorney fired back, "if the Neumann's had read the statute they could have reasonably thought they could, with impunity, pray over Kara as she slipped into a coma."
Ultimately, the State Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the couple was property convicted and upheld the ruling.
So what's next for Dale and Leilani Neumann? Their attorney's say its too soon to tell if they will appeal this ruling to the United States Supreme Court.
The Neumann's have not spent a day behind bars. At some point they will appear in Marathon County Court to determine when they will serve their sentence. A date for that has not been sent.