Death from using prayer instead of science - followers of christ
Wednesday morning marked the beginning of the trial of Shannon and Dale Hickman, who are charged with second-degree manslaughter in the September 2009 death of their newborn son. David Hickman died less than nine hours after being born, of staph pneumonia, pulmonary immaturity, and chorioamnionitis, which affects fetal membranes through a bacterial infection.
The Hickmans belong to the Followers of Christ Church, an Oregon City congregation that believes in faith-healing over medical care. The church has a long history in Oregon of child deaths involving treatable illnesses, which has led to multiple legislative changes eliminating faith-healing as a defense against criminal charges.
In less than three years, four couples, including the Hickmans, have gone to trial for failing to provide adequate medical care to their children. Three of those cases have involved deaths.
While Deputy District Attorney Mike Regan this morning argued that the Hickmans were "good people" whose steadfast devotion to their faith led to the lack of action that caused their son's death, defense attorneys accused the district attorney's office of essentially persecuting the couple because of their affiliation with the Followers of Christ.
Defense attorney Mark Cogan argued that Dale Hickman didn't believe there were any problems with his son's health until the middle of the night, when a relative roused the father from his sleep. Dale Hickman then cradled his son in his arms and prayed for him, defense attorneys said.
"Within five or ten minutes, a very short passage of time," he said. "The baby passes, from natural causes."
Both defense attorneys insisted the family was elated with the seemingly healthy child, who emerged crying and pink. "He ate regularly, he smacked his lips, and had a good, strong, cry," said John Neidig, Shannon Hickman's defense attorney, "And appeared to be perfectly normal."
But where defense counsel shared stories of a vigorous, albeit tiny, son, Regan painted a picture of an underweight, premature baby whose size should have been cause for alarm. While the photographs show that he was "vital" at first, Regan said, medical witnesses would testify that David Hickman likely struggled to breathe during the hours that were not documented.
"David was born two months early, and he was tiny," Regan said. "Tell me, among you, who does not call 9-1-1, simply (because) of his size. Who here living in the country, in this day and age, with televisions and computers, does not know that this is an emergency, coupled with the knowledge that it's two months early?"
The defense repeatedly hit on the cause of death being billed as "natural causes," saying that Medical Examiner Clifford Nelson will testify there was nothing the Hickmans could have done to prevent David's death. "Dr. Nelson does not agree that Mr. and Mrs. Hickman are the cause of their child's death," Cogan said.
Cogan said he would also use testimony from Nelson and other state employees to help show how the Clackamas County District Attorney's Office tried to "skew" and "bias" the death investigation.
"You will learn, unfortunately, the district attorney's office tried to use its influence to put its thumb on the scale of justice and improperly influence the other investigative agencies," Cogan said.
Neidig also said the prosecution did not mention another infection involved in the child's death, which likely led to a symptom-less and sudden decline that caught the parents by surprise.
Regan insisted the investigation was fair, but he also used the congregation's aversion to medical care for his own case.
David Hickman died surrounded by members of the church, Regan said, and their presence – as well as testimony from Dale Hickman -- would help prove the Hickmans were not going to seek medical care.
"They knew that the congregation that had been called to the house for the birth and the death ... does not approve of medical care," Regan said, adding that not seeking medical care would prove their faith. "We will prove that everybody was assembled there to guarantee they did not flinch."
Religion Kills !!!
Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.