Jurors Weigh Opening Statements in Dale Neumann Trial, Leilani to Testify

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Though the jury has no evidence to consider yet, they're weighing what they heard in opening statements Saturday.

Dale Neumann, 47, is on trial for second degree reckless homicide in the death of his 11-year-old daughter Madeline Kara.

His wife, Leilani, was convicted of the same charge in May.

The state must prove that Dale Neumann knowingly and recklessly let his daughter die.

She died of untreated diabetes on Easter Sunday 2008, when he and his wife chose to pray for her recovery, rather than seek medical treatment.

"When this picture was taken Kara was a happy, healthy, 10-year-old girl and seemingly with a full life ahead of her. She loved crafts, she loved to draw, she loved her family and she loved God," said assistant district attorney Lance Leonhard, who delivered the state's opening statement.

Prosecutors will present witnesses to testify that Neumann knew his daughter's health was rapidly deteriorating, but refused to take her to the doctor.

"As Madeline lay there Saturday night on the couch, her breathing was labored, the defendant went off to bed. When he did, he knew she could not talk, she could not eat or drink," Leonard said.

The state will try to prove she suffered before she died, and could have been saved had Neumann sought medical treatment.

"The evidence will show that for at least 18 hours before she died, Madeline Kara Neumann was in an ongoing state of great bodily harm and the defendant was present and aware of that condition," Leonard told the jury.

But the defense will paint the picture of a man who did what he believed was best for his ailing daughter: praying for God to heal her.

"Because he believed that was what would save his daughter," defense attorney Jay Kronenwetter said.

Kronenwetter told the jury the state couldn't possibly prove that by Neumann praying for his daughter, he caused her death.

"The evidence, the testimony will show you that there are many people who have a drastically different world view from the one the state has built their case around. That they have different understandings of what life is at the fundamental level of our relationship with ourselves and our creator," Kronenwetter said.

Before opening statements began Judge Vincent Howard denied a reques by the defense to allow Thurman Scrivner, a Texas minister and faith healer, to testify as an expert witness.

Ten witnesses are scheduled to testify Monday, including Leilani Neumann.

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