Couple who prayed for son while he died get up to 7 years

Feb. 19, 2014 at 9:15 PM
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PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- A Philadelphia couple on probation for killing one son by denying him medical care got up to seven years in prison Wednesday for the death of another son.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible apologized for trying to treat 7-month-old Brandon's pneumonia with prayer, the Philadelphia Daily News reported. They said that in the future they will take their surviving children to doctors when needed.

Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner and Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore told the Schaibles they were responsible for Benjamin's death. The judge sentenced them each to 3 1/2 to 7 years in prison.

Pescatore asked the judge for terms of eight to 16 years.

"God gave you these children to protect, to take care of. They are precious," Pescatore, who looked like she was about to start crying, said. "They didn't even give that baby Tylenol. What were you thinking? What were you thinking?"

The Schaibles pleaded guilty in November to third-degree murder, child endangerment and conspiracy. Brandon died in April.

Herbert, 45, and Catherine, 44, were born into the First Century Gospel Church in the Juniata Park neighborhood, a small congregation that believes in the power of faith and prayer over medicine. In 2010, after another son, Kent, died of pneumonia at the age of 2, they were sentenced to 10 years of probation with one condition that they get medical care for their children.

The couple have several surviving children.

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