Jury mulls parents’ fate in son’s death

A jury in the “faith-healing” involuntary manslaughter trial was unable to reach a verdict after a day of testimony in which a noted forensic pathologist disagreed with the assistant medical examiner’s autopsy conclusions. Jurors will return Friday morning to resume deliberations.

On Thursday, Dr. Cyril Wecht contradicted assertions that Kent Schaible would definitely have lived had he been vaccinated or taken to a doctor for antibiotics. Wecht, who was paid $5,000 to serve as a defense expert witness, “quickly” read a transcript of Dr. Edwin Lieberman’s testimony Wednesday night.

He asserted that Kent’s bacterial pneumonia “became really severe in the final 24 hours, more focused in the final 12 hours,” which means Kent’s parents Herbert and Catherine may not have known he was nearing death as they prayed for his health rather than seeking medical attention.

“More likely than not, antibiotics would not have made a difference [for the] rapidly developing” malady, Wecht said, contradicting Lieberman. Kent’s pneumonia “has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics.”

Catherine Schaible winced several times during closing arguments, as three of her six children looked on. The defense repeated their stance that the commonwealth was attacking the Schaible’s “fringe” religious beliefs.

“How do they expect a layperson with just a ninth-grade education to diagnose pneumonia?” asked Herbert’s attorney Bobby Hoof.

“Kent Schaible needed a lot more than prayer. Kent Schaible needed to go to a doctor. That’s what this case is about,” Assistant District Attorney Joanne Pescatore said. “Nobody was there for him.”

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