GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — A Gwinnett County jury is deliberating the fate of a father who waited to take his child to the hospital, because of his religious beliefs. The child later died.
Channel 2’s Tony Thomas was in the courtroom Friday when the father’s spiritual adviser, Dwayne Murphy, took the stand.
Murphy said he met with George Landell and Lauren Fristed regularly for Bible studies and grew close to them.
"He's like a son to me," Murphy said.
So when the couple's 11-week-old daughter Neveah began having medical issues, he's the one person they called. He said everything was fine and urged them to pray.
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"All sickness, disease and infirmities are of the devil. And not of God," Murphy testified.
But authorities say Neveah was dying of malnutrition because her parents mixed water in with her feedings.
"Well it's just water, it's just water and nothing harmful can come from water," Landell said Friday.
The baby lost weight in her short life but was never taken for checkups.
The child's father, now charged with murder, cited religious beliefs in not taking her to the hospital immediately when he noticed she was turning blue and not eating.
"Did you think your prayers were working that day?" prosecutors asked Landell.
"Yes," Landell said.
Prosecutors told the jury Landell had an obligation to seek help for his newborn.
Murphy, a minister, insisted the baby didn't look as bad as prosecutors claim in her last hours.
"Is there any Christian reason for a father not taking her baby to the hospital?" prosecutors asked Murphy.
"Neveah didn't look like that," Murphy said.
Cox Media Group