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State Supreme Court hears arguments in prayer death case

Published On: Dec 04 2012 01:18:49 PM CST

MADISON, Wis. -

A state attorney told the Wisconsin Supreme Court a couple caused their daughter's death when they prayed over while she slowly died of diabetes.

Dale and Leilani Neumann were convicted in 2009 of reckless homicide in the death of their 11-year-old daughter, Madeline. Their attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to reverse their convictions, arguing state law protects prayer healers and the statutes aren't clear on when a situation becomes so serious they must seek medical help.

Assistant Attorney General Maura Whelan told the justices Tuesday parents who pray over an ailing child can't be charged with child abuse but their immunity doesn't apply if the child dies.

She said the Neumanns placed Madeline at a substantial risk of death and had to have known they crossed the line.

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