A Rhawnhurst couple whose belief in faith healing led to the April death of their 8-month-old son pleaded no contest to murder and related charges last week.
The pleas amount to convictions for Herbert and Catherine Schaible, who will be sentenced by Common Pleas Court Judge Benjamin Lerner on Feb. 19. The murder charges alone carry a possible sentence of 20 to 40 years in prison.
According to prosecutors, the married couple’s son Brandon developed bacterial pneumonia last April, but the Schaibles failed to summon medical help for him. Instead, they contacted leaders of their church, First Century Gospel in Juniata Park, and prayed. Brandon died at the couple’s home on April 18.
At the time, the parents were still on probation for involuntary manslaughter convictions stemming from the 2009 death of another son, 2-year-old Kent, under similar circumstances. They could face additional prison time for violating probation.
In the latest case, each parent was convicted of endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy in addition to third-degree murder. Herbert Schaible remains in prison in lieu of $250,000 bail. Catherine Schaible was released from prison after posting 10 percent of $250,000 bail, but remains under house arrest and electronic monitoring at her parents’ Northeast home. The Schaibles have seven surviving children ages 8 to 17. ••