Faith-Healing Couple Hears Evidence in Son's Death

NBC 10 News, Philadelphia/June 12, 2013

A couple that believes in faith healing over medicine is set to hear the evidence against them in the death of a second child.

Northeast Philadelphia's Herbert and Catherine Schaible are being held in prison after their 8-month-old son Brandon died of bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and a group B streptococcus infection in April. Their bail was revoked last month.

Herbert Schaible, 45, and his wife Catherine, 44, were still on probation in what prosecutors call the "eerily similar" pneumonia death of 2-year-old son Kent in 2009.

A jury had convicted them of involuntary manslaughter in Kent's death. Defense lawyers say the Schaibles are good parents who don't intend their children any harm.

Part of the couple's probation included ensuring their additional children, ranging up to 17 years old, get regular medical checkups and go to the doctor when there's any sign of illness.

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said the care was never given and decided to bring murder charges against the couple. The couple's remaining seven children are in foster care.

The Schaibles are part of First Century Gospel Church in the Juniata Park section of Philadelphia. The church, one of two in the city, believe in faith-healing over modern medicine.

NBC10 has learned at least two dozen children from First Century Gospel and its mother church First Tabernacle Congregation have died since 1971.

Herbert Schaible teaches at a school affiliated with their Pentecostal church. He has told police that he believes in "divine healing," and says Jesus died "to break the devil's power."

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