Jury deliberates in faith healing trial

Sept. 28, 2011 at 8:53 PM
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PORTLAND, Ore., Sept. 28 (UPI) -- An attorney in Oregon said there was no proof doctors could have saved the life of a baby whose parents are on trial for failing to take him to a hospital.

Defense attorney Mark Cogan told jurors in closing statements that nobody could have foreseen the infant, David Hickman, would die less than 9 hours after birth, The (Portland) Oregonian reported.

Dale and Shannon Hickman, who are charged with second-degree manslaughter in the death of their son, belong to the Followers of Christ church and believe relying on doctors shows a lack of faith in God. Shannon gave birth to the 2-months premature baby at home, assisted by church midwives and family.

Cogan argued the baby died of a blood infection that would not have been recognized by the parents until it was too late.

Prosecutors said laboratory tests show the infant -- who was abnormally small at 3 pounds, 7 ounces -- died from respiratory distress.

"What would a reasonable person do in this situation?" said Clackamas County prosecutor John Wentworth. "That baby goes to the hospital."

The jury began deliberating Wednesday.

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