Jury selection begins Thursday in the case of a Wausau area mother who chose prayer rather than medical attention for her dying daughter. Ninety-four potential jurors will report over the next two days but only 12 will be picked to decide whether to convict Leilani Neumann of reckless homicide in the Easter death of her 11-year-old daughter.
Prosecutors say the Weston mother had a legal duty to take Madeline Kara to a doctor as she died from diabetes. The defense maintains that prayer is a proper form of treatment and that nothing in the law requires them to seek medical help. The jury will be sequestered during the weeklong trial which begins with opening statements Saturday morning.
The judge Wednesday heard arguments but put off a ruling on whether to allow a defense expert witness. Defense attorney Gene Linehan argued that Neumann should be allowed to call Texas faith healer Thurman Scrivner. He noted the state will call its own medical experts. But Marathon County District Attorney Jill Falstad says the faith healer's testimony isn't relevant because it's common knowledge that prayer is a choice for treatment.
Judge Vincent Howard wants to see an advanced written summary of Scrivner's testimony before making a decision.