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Faith healers charged with murder after 2d death

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia couple who believe in faith healing over medicine and who were on probation in their son’s pneumonia death were charged with murder Wednesday after a second young child died under what a prosecutor called ‘‘eerily similar’’ circumstances.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible ignored a court order to seek medical care if their children needed it, prosecutors said. The requirement was a condition of the probation sentence they received after the death of their toddler son four years ago.

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First Assistant District Attorney Ed McCann said the Schaibles are entitled to their religious beliefs — until it endangers their children. ‘‘How many kids have to die before it becomes extreme indifference to human life?’’ McCann said. “They killed one kid already.’’

The Schaibles are members of the fundamentalist First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia. The church’s website quotes Bible verses purportedly suggesting it is a sin to trust in medicine over faith.

Defense lawyers call the couple loving parents who did not intend for their sons to die.

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