By Calvin Palmer
A Wisconsin jury took more than three hours this afternoon to find a mother guilty of second-degree reckless homicide in the death of her daughter from untreated diabetes.
Leilani Neumann, 41, chose the power of prayer instead of seeking medical help as their 11-year-old Madeline Kara Neumann lay dying at the family’s home in rural Weston.
She faces up to 25 years in jail. A sentencing date has not been set.
“Obviously, there will be an appeal,” defense lawyer Gene Linehan said after the verdict.
During closing arguments, prosecutors portrayed Neumann as a religious zealot who ignored her daughter Kara’s symptoms of untreated diabetes and let the girl die as a test of faith.
“Religious extremism can be dangerous,” Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad said. “In this case, it was fatal. Basic medical care would have saved Kara’s life — fluids and insulin. There was plenty of time to save Kara’s life.”
Linehan said Neumann did not realize her daughter was so ill and did all she could do to help, in line with the family’s belief in faith-healing.
He said Neumann was a devout Christian who prays about everything and took good care of her four children.
“Religious extremism is a Muslim terrorist,” Linehan said. “They are saying these parents were so far off the scale that they murdered their child. The woman did everything she could to help her. That is the injustice in this case.”
Neumann and her husband Dale, 47, clutched each other and silently prayed with another man before the jury began to deliberate.
She then went to each of her other children sitting on a front-row courtroom bench and kissed them on the cheek.
Dale Neumann faces the same charge and is scheduled to face trial on July 23.
The Associated Press reports Neumann’s stepfather, Brian Gordon, as saying his stepdaughter did nothing wrong in trusting in God to heal her daughter.
“We should have that right in this country,” he said.
It would be a fair assumption to say that Gordon is probably pro-life when it comes to the issue of abortion but he appears to be anti-life when it comes to denying readily available medical treatment to a close family relative.
Gordon, allow me to let you into a little secret, we have no “rights” only responsibilities and your family clearly failed in its responsibilities to Madeline Kara.
The fact that you are allowed to walk free in America frightens me because you and the rest of your family clearly belong in a mental institution. You are dangerously delusional. Just ask Madeline Kara. It is the 21st Century not the Middle Ages.