A Philadelphia Municipal Court judge refused to dismiss murder charges against faith healing parents Herbert and Catherine Schaible, ruling instead that the case should proceed to trial.
On Wednesday, June 12, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge Charles Hayden ruled that the murder and involuntary manslaughter case against Herbert and Catherine Schaible should proceed to trial. The couple, charged in the faith-healing death of their 7-month old son, had sought to have the charges dismissed on the ground that they did not know their child was sick enough to die, and thus there was no gross negligence or malice
The Schaible’s son, Brandon Schaible, died on April 18 at the family home in Rhawnhurst, Philadelphia, from bacterial pneumonia, severe dehydration and an infection, after his parents withheld medical care. By their own admission, the parents failed to provide medical care for their child, choosing instead prayer over modern medicine.
Before the senseless and tragic death of their son, Brandon, the Schaibles were four years into a 10-year probation sentence resulting from the faith healing death of their 2-year-old son Kent from bacterial pneumonia in 2009 . As part of their sentence for the involuntary manslaughter conviction, the couple was ordered to seek regular medical attention for their children. An order the Schaibles apparently ignored, with tragic consequence.
The Schaibles attend the First Century Gospel Church, a fundamentalist congregation that believes in faith healing and prayer over science and medicine for the treatment of illnesses and injuries. Their pastor, Nelson Clark, said the Schaibles lost their sons because of a “spiritual lack” in their lives.
After Brandon’s death last April, the dead boy’s father, Herbert Schaible, told Philadelphia homicide detectives the following:
We believe in divine healing, that Jesus shed blood for our healing and that he died on the cross to break the devil’s power. Medicine is against our religious beliefs.
Currently the Schaibles are being held without bail. The couple returns to court July 3 to be formally arraigned on murder, involuntary manslaughter, child endangerment and conspiracy charges. Their seven surviving children, the oldest nearly 18, are in foster care.
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