Weston Couple Charged in Daughter's Death Wants More Taxpayer Help for Attorney Fees

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Leilani Neumann, the Weston mother accused of praying for her dying daughter instead of seeking medical treatment, says she can't afford her attorney.

Neumann, and her husband Dale, are being charged with reckless homicide in the death of their daughter Kara, 11, last March.

Both appeared in Marathon County Court Friday morning for a motions hearing.

It's still unclear whether Leilani will be ruled indigent, but the couple are both unemployed since their coffee shop went out of business.

"They had a business called Monkey Mo's that went under. They're basically living on credit cards at this point, which is gonna collapse quite quickly," said Leilani's attorney Gene Linehan.

Now the defendant wants the court to appoint an attorney at the expense of taxpayers, but Judge Vincent Howard wants her to seek a public defender before any decision is made.

The couple owns two homes, one is in foreclosure and the other may follow suit.

Dale already has a court-appointed lawer that has charged the county $13,000 so far.

The defendants may not qualify for public defenders because of their assets.

"The reason that the public defender is unlikely to be able to assist in this circumstance is there likely is some equity in the home that they reside in. However it is currently encumbered by the bond requested by the state," said Dale's attorney, Jay Kronenwetter.

But under the Constitution, they still hold the right to an attorney, so Leilani may get her county-paid lawyer afterall.

The defense attorneys expressed their displeasure that there are separate trials for the couple.....in May and July....and were hoping to save money by combining their experts and investigators.

"We were initially under the impression due to the state's representations that these cases were to be tried jointly, and we put together the resources to take care of this with a joint trial," said Kronenwetter.

In a separate motion, the defense asked that the Neumann's seized property be returned to them. It included computers and bedding.

Judge Howard granted the motion.

The Neumanns will be back in court March 31st.

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