|Leilani Neumann is accused of homicide.|
Mother said to have known girl was ill
WAUSAU, Wis. - A mother accused of homicide for only praying while her 11-year-old daughter died of untreated diabetes knew the girl was gravely ill at least a day before she died, a sister-in-law testified yesterday.
Susan Neumann of Merrill was the first witness to testify in the trial of Leilani Neumann, 41, charged with second-degree reckless homicide in her daughter Madeline's March 23, 2008, death, and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Susan Neumann said Leilani Neumann told her she came home from work at the family's coffee shop March 22 and "felt the spirit of death" when she reached for the knob to open the door to the house. "She was afraid," the sister-in-law said.
Prosecutors contend any reasonable parent would have known something was wrong and Leilani Neumann, who believes healing comes from God, recklessly killed her daughter by praying instead of rushing her to a doctor as the girl became so weak she couldn't walk or talk. The defense says the family hadn't known the girl was dying.
Susan Neumann testified she no longer had a relationship with her brother, Dale Neumann, 47, who is Madeline's father and is set to go on trial July 23.