FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A Kentucky couple belonging to a faith healing sect were charged with reckless homicide Friday for refusing medical aid a coroner said would have saved the life of their second stillborn child.
A Shelby County grand jury indicted Terry and Rhonda Murphy, of Shelbyville, Ky., and Sandy Reynolds, of Versailles, Ind., who was present during the March 29 delivery.
All three belong to a group known as 'The Body,' a faith healing sect whose members sometimes speak in tongues. Most of the 50 members of the group live in Shelbyville and Versailles.
The indictment was based primarily on the findings of a coroner's inquest into the death.
According to the report by Dr. Thomas P. Leonard, the infant was stillborn because of negligence on the part of the parents. He said the baby was crushed and suffocated in Mrs. Murphy's birth canal, which was too small for normal deliver.
Leonard said if Mrs. Murphy had been in a hospital, a Caesarean section would have been performed, allowing the baby to be surgically removed through the mother's abdomen.
It was the couple's second stillborn child in a year and both died under similar circumstances. Mrs. Murphy testified before the coroner's inquest that she intended to bear any future children without medical aid as well.
'It's my opinion that both babies could have been saved if the mother had had adequate medical care or an experienced person who was monitoring both babies prior to birth,' Leonard said.
The judge set $10,000 bond for the Murphys, who were released on their own recognizance. He also appointed an attorney for them despite their insistence they wanted to handle their own defense.
The Murphys refused to discuss their religious beliefs with reporters.