Fundamentalist Christian mother, Catherine Schaible, was granted bail after being charged with the murder of her 8-month-old son when she chose prayer instead of medical treatment for the baby’s pneumonia.
Once she posts $250,000 bail, the 43-year-old mother will be allowed to live in her parents' home under electronic monitoring, Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center officials told the Associated Press on Saturday. Her husband, who is also charged with third-degree murder, remains in jail.
Baby Brandon was the second child the Schaibles had who died after the parents refused to seek medical treatment. In 2011, they were put on 10-year probation for the 2009 death of their 2-year-old son Kent who had pneumonia. The couple was convicted of involuntary manslaughter.
Authorities said the couple called a funeral home when Brandon died instead of calling 911. The couple’s seven other child are now in a foster care.
Judge Benjamin Lerner found them in violation of their probation, which stipulated that they must seek medical attention for their remaining children after Kent’s death. He said he did not believe the couple was a flight risk in the preliminary hearing.
Lerner granted bail because he believed it was unhealthy for the children to have no contact with either parent for months at a time.
The couple is third-generation members of the First Century Gospel Church. Herbert Schaible, 44, told police earlier this year that medicine “is against our religious beliefs.” He said “we pray and ask to be healed the way that Jesus did when he was on Earth.”
Defense attorney, Mythri Jayaraman, said Catherine was less liable in the death of the infant because their church teaches that a wife must be “submissive to her husband.”
Both Pastor Nelson Clark and Assistant Pastor Ralph Myers testified that Herbert made the decisions about the welfare of the Schaible children.
Clark said he told Herbert to disclose to his probation officer that Brandon was sick several days before the baby died. He testified that Herbert refused because “he said that if he called anyone, it would be a denial of his faith that God could heal the child.”
The prosecutor argued against Catherine being treated differently than her husband.
"She was that child's mother, and he was that child's father, and they both have equal responsibility for that child," said Assistant District Attorney Joanna Pescatore.