Couple Faces Prison After Shunning Medical Care For Baby

FRANKLIN, Ind. -- A couple convicted of reckless homicide for relying on prayer instead of medical care for their seriously ill newborn say they would do so again if a similar situation arose.

Dewayne and Maleta Schmidt's daughter, Rhianna, died from an infection typically treated with antibiotics less than two days after she was born at the couple's rural Indiana home.

The Schmidts, who were convicted in May, will be sentenced Aug. 12 on reckless homicide charges in Rhianna's August 2003 death. They both face two to eight years in prison.

The couple has two other children.

"I thought we lived in a country where I had freedom of religion," Maleta Schmidt said.

The church to which the Schmidts belong -- the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn in Morgantown, Ind. -- advocates prayer and faith healing over medical intervention but does not require members to shun medical care.

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