OREGON CITY, Ore. An Oregon City couple was found guilty Tuesday in the death of their 16-year-old son.
Jeff and Marci Beagley were convicted of criminally negligent homicide. The jury informed the Clackamas County Circuit Court of their decision Tuesday afternoon, after the two-week trial ended lastFriday.
The couple was sceduled for sentencing on Feb. 18.
During the trial, prosecutors argued that the Beagleys failed to provide medical care to their son Neil when it could have saved his life. The Beagleys are members of the Followers of Christ Church, which avoids doctors. The couple said they prayed for their son to heal, instead of seeking medical care. But during the trial, they also testified that they did not realize their son's illness was life-threatening.
On the criminally begligent homicide charges, 10 jurors voted guilty, two voted not guilty.
The judge ruled the defendants could remain out of custody under their security posted early in the case and that they are not a flight risk.
The Beagley's attorneys argued that the teenager's symptoms looked like a bad cold or the flu. Neil died in June 2008 of complications from a congenital urinary tract blockage he had since birth that doctors said could have been corrected and treated.
Background:Neil Beagley's death
In a previous case, the Beagleys' daughter, Raylene Worthington, was acquitted of manslaughter, along with her husband, after their 15-month-old daughter died from pneumonia and a blood infection. A jury did, however, convict Raylene's husband, Carl of criminal mistreatment. Raylene and Carl were also members of the Followers of Christ Church when their child died.
When asked about his granddaughter's death during his trial, Jeff Beagley became very emotional and cried on the stand.
The Oregon Legislature changed state law on faith healing in 1999 after a series of child deaths among members of the Followers of Christ Church. The current law states that children over the age of 15 have the right to give informed consent on medical care, even if their parents' religious beliefs say otherwise.This was one of the big issues in the Beagley trial, since unlike Ava, their son Neil was older than 15 when he died.