A judge has sentenced Herbert and Catherine Schaible with up to seven years in jail after their eight-month-old son, Brandon, died from pneumonia when he was not given medical care. The couple, who are Pentecostal and say that medicine is against their religious beliefs, pleaded no contest to third-degree murder in Philadelphia.
The couple were already on probation following the death of another son, Kent, in 2009, also from pneumonia. Kent was two years old at the time. In that case, the Schaibles pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter. A condition of that sentence was that they must seek medical care for their children's health problems.
According to Herbert Schaible's police statement, he told investigators, "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." A deputy medical examiner told the court that he believed Brandon could have survived if given proper medical treatment.
The judge who handed down the sentence, Benjamin Lerner, told the couple at their sentencing, "You killed two of your children ... not God, not your church, not your religious devotion. You."
The Schaibles have seven other children. All but the oldest, who is over 18, are in foster care.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.