Day Three of Testimony in Leilani Neumann Trial

Witnesses take stand in day three of Leilani Neumann trial.  The 41-year old Weston woman is charged with second degree reckless homicide in the death of her 11-year old daughter, Kara.  Authorities say she failed to get medical help  for the girl who died of untreated diabetes.

Leilani Neumann

8:55
State calls Jennifer Peaslee to the stand. She was a member of Leilani Neumann's Bible study group.
She testifies that she saw Kara Neumann at a Bible study about a week before she died. She says the girl looked tired and was quiet.
Peaslee also says she and her husband stopped by the Neumann's house the day she died and that Kara was unresponsive and her breathing was labored and didn't seem normal
She says she was shocked when she saw how bad Kara's condition was.
Peaslee and her husband joined the Neumann's in praying for the girl, but she never even suggested the Neumanns call for medical help because of Leilani's belief about faith healing over medicine and that sickness is caused by sin.
She testifies Kara was given water with a spray bottle, but someone had to open her mouth because she couldn't open it herself.
After praying, she and her husband left feeling Kara would get better because of their prayers.
Peaslee says they have stopped attending Bible study with the Neumanns because of difference in the interpretation of the Bible.

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9:30
Cross examination begins.
Defense attrorney Gene Linehan asks if she believes in the power of prayer. She says yes.
Peaslee says Kara never improved before she and her husband left the Neumann's home the day Kara died.
She says over the last 2-months before Kara died, she never saw anything to indicate Kara was sick.

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10:15
After a short break, testimony resumes. The state calls James Neuens, another member of the Neumann Bible study group.

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10:20
Cross examination begins. Neuens testifies he never noticed Kara was sick in the weeks leading up to her death.

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10:35
Carolyn Neuens called to the stand by the state. She is the wife of the man who testified right before her. Neuens is also a member of the Neumanns Bible study group.
Neuens has several health issues and is hard of hearing.
Direct and cross examination are very quick.

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10:45
Leilani Neumann's 16-year old daughter is called to the stand.
Direct exam begins with the state asking background questions about the Neumann family and their move to Wisconsin.
The girl testifies Kara was home schooled and that she was artistic and crafty.
The state asks questions about who the family knows, their business (Monkey Mo's Coffee Shop) and their Bible studies.
The girl testifies Kara was tired, started drinking a lot of water and giong to the bathroom a lot more about a week before she died. Those are classic signs of diabetes.
The girl testifies that the Saturday before she died, she needed to help Kara walk to the bathroom because she was so weak.
She also says Kara was too weak to talk, grunting and groaning instead.
The night before she died, the girl testified she and her brother slept with Kara on a couch in the house's living area, but Leilani was exhausted, so she went to her bedroom to sleep. The girl says Leilani did check on her during the night.

Defense attorney Gene Linehan asks for a break.
We break for lunch until 1pm.

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NOTE:
During lunch, Dale Neumann is heard singing hymns in the hallway of the courhouse. Several witnesses tell me they've also heard him sing during other breaks. Earlier, during a break in the proceedings, I heard Leilani singing as well.

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1:05
Direct examination of Leilani Neumann's daughter continues.
Leilani Neumann's daughter testifies no one ever mentioned calling a doctor on the Sunday morning Kara died. The DA shows her a police report that shows she told officers someone in fact did say a doctor should be called for Kara. The girl then changes her testimony and says may be someone did mention calling a doctor.

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1:15
In cross examination, the defense asks what state the girl was in when she was interviewed by the police. She says she was very upset. She says her parents were not present when she was interviewed by police. She says no social worker or advisor of any type was in the room while she was being questioned by police.
The girl then testifies when she told her Mom (Leilani) that Kara seemed tired, Leilani told her it was probably just puberty.
She says she never thought Kara was sick when she was tired, drinking water and going to the bathroom a lot.
The girl testifies Kara's breathing got better before she died, making them believe the Lord was answering their prayers and Kara was getting better.
She also says she thinks they did the right thing by praying for Kara instead of taking her to the doctor, because it's dissing Him to think a doctor is more powerfull than God.
The girl testifies that Kara was studying the Bible about healing a week or a few weeks before she died and she came to the conclusion that God heals and there's nothing in the Good Book that says you have to go to the doctor.

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1:55
The jury is removed while the attorneys discuss whether a tape of the girl's interview by a social worker after Kara's death can be played. The DA says she needs to play a portion of the tape because the defense raised the question of whether the girl was properly questioned.

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2:05
Court is back in session. DA plays tape of social worker interview of the girl, which was conducted three days after Kara's death. You can hear the girl laughing occasionally while the questioning by the social worker is going on.
The girl then testifies she was able to give the answers she wanted to in the interview.

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2:15
State calls Alvera Neumann, Dale Neumann's mother and the victim's grandmother. She testifies of getting a call from Leilani the day before Kara died to pray for her because the girl was sick.
Neumann says the next day Leilani called her to say Kara was in a coma and she told her she better get the girl to a doctor fast.

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2:25
On cross examination, Neumann says she was only asked for information about the case by authorities last week.

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2:30
State calls Capt. Scott Sleeter from the Everest Metro Police Department. He testifies about the investigation of Kara Neumann's death.

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2:45
Cross examination begins. Very quick.

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3:30
After a break, the state calls Det. Dennis Halkoski from the Everest Metro P.D. He interviewed the Neumanns after Kara died. The prosecution is now playing a video of him questioning Leilani after Kara died. NOTE: It's quite difficult to understand sitting in the media room watching a feed of the proceedings as I am.
The interview was conducted in a small room. Neumann lays her head on a table multiple times throughout.
With the words I can make out, Leilani seems to be talking about how sick she thought her daughter was.
She also says they didn't understand just how sick Kara was because they never faced anything like that before.
She said they were sure their faith would heal her.
The interview is interrupted three by Leilani's cell phone ringing.
Later, she appears to sing to herself while the detective takes notes about his interview. She also gets up and paces a couple times.
As the police interview wraps up, Leilani signs a piece of paper presented to her by the detective.
The tape and a transcript of the interview are put into evidence.

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5:05
The jury is excused. The judge says the day is over and the trial will begin at 8:30 Thursday morning.

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The 41-year old Weston woman and her husband Dale are charged with second degree reckless homicide in the death of their 11-year old daughter, Kara. Authorities say they prayed for her, but failed to get medical help for the girl who died of untreated diabetes in March of 2008.

Witnesses from the first two days of testimony include medical experts who say Kara would easily have survived with proper treatment for diabetes. And a former friend and business associate who testified Neumann's religious beliefs are extreme.

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


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