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Members Of Sect Face Criminal Trial In Their Son’s Death

A couple whose son died of leukemia after they refused for religious reasons to allow him to have medical treatment must stand trial on criminal charges, a judge ruled Monday.

Circuit Judge Daniel Murphy of Linn County rejected a motion by oyd and Christina Hays of Brownsville that charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide be dismissed on religious and other grounds.

A grand jury indicted the couple in March.

Tony Hays, 7, died last November. The Hays are members of the Church of the First Born, a fundamentalist Christian sect that relies on the healing power of prayer rather than traditional medicine.

Murphy earlier had ruled that the couple could not use their religious beliefs as the basis for a defense. However, Murphy said in Monday’s ruling that he would decide later whether the couple may offer such evidence.

Tags: religion