'Faith-Healer' Parents Guilty of Manslaughter in Death of Infant Son

Instead of seeking medical care, Dale and Shannon Hickman chose to pray and anoint their premature son David with olive oil.

A husband and wife, who prayed and anointed their baby with oils when he turned gray hours after he was born prematurely, were found guilty of manslaughter Thursday in Oregon City, Ore.

The court heard David Hickman lived less than nine hours after being born weighing 3lb, 7oz in September 2009 -- two months before his due date -- The Oregonian reported.

David's parents Dale and Shannon Hickman, members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon City, which is known for its refusal to seek medical care, failed to alert medics when his health deteriorated hours after he was born.

Instead of seeking medical care, Dale Hickman chose to pray and anointed him with olive oil. Both parents said they never considered calling a doctor. When asked why he didn't call an ambulance when he realized his infant son's condition was deteriorating, Dale Hickman reponded, "Because I was praying," The Oregonian reported.

Though a jury found the Hickmans guilty of second-degree manslaughter, an offense that requires a jail sentence of at least six years, a religious exemption means the couple will face no more than 18 months in prison and a $250,000 fine. State legislators scrapped the exemption after news of the Hickmans' indictment first broke.

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