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Prosecutor reacts to Supreme Court ruling in prayer death case


WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) --  The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday against Dale and Leilani Neumann in the prayer death case involving their daughter Kara in 2008. Kara had undiagnosed diabetes, and her parents chose to prey rather than seek medical attention. When she died, the Neumann’s were convicted of second-degree reckless homicide for not seeking medical help.

Marathon County Assistant District Attorney Lance Leonhard was on the prosecution team. He says it was a difficult case. “Like the case itself, it’s difficult to look back and be satisfied with any aspect of the case. It was certainly a very difficult prosecution around a very sad set of facts all around.”

Now that the Supreme Court has decided 6-1 to to uphold Judge Vincent Howard’s convictions, Leonhard says the original sentence will be served. “The sentence that was originally imposed is actually now going to be served. That’s the next step in the process, and as soon as our office does receive the paperwork from the Supreme Court, the remittitur, we will file a motion to lift the stay (of jail sentence) that was previously granted by Judge Howard.”

Leonhard was not at all surprised to see this case go to the Supreme Court. “It was known to the prosecutors on the case that the case would not only be appealed during the prosecution, but certainly after conviction we were certainly anticipating that appeal.”

Each of the Neumann’s must serve a month in jail each year for six years as part of their probation sentence. Leonhard expects one of the parents will have to serve the first month of that sentence soon.