OKANOGAN — A faith-healing Washington couple accused of being criminally responsible for their teenage son’s death for failing to call a doctor have been acquitted of second-degree murder charges.
The Wenatchee World reports that the Okanogan County Superior Court jury also acquitted JaLea Swezey of first-degree manslaughter on Monday night but couldn’t reach a verdict for Greg Swezey on that count.
After nine hours of deliberation, the jury could not reach a decision about either parent on a second-degree manslaughter count.
Zachery Swezey was 17 when he died at his Carlton home of a ruptured appendix in March 2009.
Jurors were told the couple belong to the Church of the First Born, which believes in faith healing. The Swezeys told investigators they thought their son had the flu. They also said the boy chose not to see a doctor.
The couple did call church elders to pray for him and anoint him with olive oil.