Prosecution says Kara Neumann's Death was "Dragged Out and Miserable"

   Prosecutors say Kara Neumann

Leilani Neumann

Kara Neumann's death was "dragged out and miserable."

That's the word from prosecutors during opening statements in the trial for her mother. 41-year old Leilani Neumann and her husband Dale are accused of second degree reckless homicide. Authorities say they prayed for Kara instead of getting her medical attention and she died of untreated diabetes.

Marathon County ADA LaMont Jacobson delivered the opening statement. It was halted for nearly 45 minutes after the defendant apparently fainted in the court room. Jacobson was detailing the last days of Kara Neumann's life when Leilani Neumann collapsed.

Her attorney, Gene Linehan told the judge Neumann suffered a complete emotional and mental breakdown.

The judge ordered security to call 911.

About a half hour later, Neumann was brought back into the courtroom in a wheelchair.

Her attorney told the judge medical officials from the ambulance checked her blood pressure and checked her heart and she was ready to proceed again.

Neumann was removed from the wheelchair and placed in a regular chair before the jury returned and court resumed.

Before the statement was interrupted, Jacobson told the jury the trial is not about a parent's right to raise a child as they see fit, nor is it about anyone's right to pray. He says it's about Kara Neumann's needless suffering and death.

He also said her sister told authorities Kara was so weak she couldn't walk or talk, only being able to grunt the last couple days of her life.

After the delay, Jacobson detailed how many people told the Neumanns their daughter needed medical attention, but they refused, saying her condition was a test of their faith.

Jacobson said an aunt in California finally called the Marathon County sheriff's department to send help. When authorities arrived, the girl was already not breathing.

Jacobson told the jury forensic tests showed Kara died of untreated diabetes and that she had a chance to survive right up until the time 911 was called the day she died.

In his opening statement, defense attorney Gene Linehan told the jury Kara's symptoms did not appear until 18-hours before she died. He says he will call witnesses who will testify the girl looked fine. And he said the girl appeared to get better just before she died, leading her parents to believe their prayers were working.

Linehan says Neumann, who will testify, believed she was doing the right thing for her daughter.

After the opening statements, the judge ruled the defense cannot call a faith healer from Texas as an expert witness in the case. He said while the man may be an expert, his testimony cannot help the jury determine whether Neumann knew her actions would lead to her daughter's death.

The 41-year old Neumann and her husband, Dale are charged with reckless homicide in the death of their 11-year old daughter, Kara. Authorities say they chose to pray for her instead of taking her to a doctor and the girl died of untreated diabetes in 2008.

If the Neumanns are convicted, they face up to 25-years in prison. Dale Neumann's trial is set for July.


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