Another religious couple from the Followers of Christ Church.
Another attempt at “faith-healing.”
Another dead child.
Another guilty verdict, though, if that’s any consolation to anyone.
Dale and Shannon Hickman were found guilty of second-degree manslaughter on Thursday after they let their newborn son die:
Prosecutors provided a timeline that showed there was as much as 45 minutes between the time the baby’s condition noticeably changed and his death, more than enough time to get emergency medical help. Instead, Dale Hickman held his son and anointed him with oil. He said he was with the baby for five or 10 minutes.
Shannon Hickman testified that she watched for maybe five minutes as the baby took his final labored breaths.
Jurors questioned whether the decline was so rapid.
“We really didn’t trust Shannon’s testimony very much,” said [jury foreman Collin] Fleming.
The amount of time was irrelevant, Fleming said. “They were never going to call for medical assistance.”
A pediatric expert who testified at the 10-day trial said the baby had a 99.9 percent chance of surviving if he had been taken to a hospital — the standard response for premature babies born at home. Even defense medical experts agreed hospitalization was the right choice.
Shannon Hickman said even if she had wanted to call 9-1-1 she was powerless to act because her church calls for wives to submit to their husband’s decisions — to do otherwise is a sin.
It used to be the case that Oregon allowed people like the Hickmans to get away with murder because of “faith-based exemptions”… in June, the last bits of the “spiritual healing defense” were taken off the books.
Unfortunately, the Hickmans were indicted before that law went into effect. So it’s possible the judge could sentence them for a prison stay less than the now-mandatory six years and three months. I hope he doesn’t do that. Make these people yet another example of how one’s faith should never be allowed to override a child’s health.
If you want to pray for yourself to get better, go for it. When someone else’s life is on the line, you cannot put their care in a fictional god’s hands.
(Thanks to Ashley for the link)