In 2009 Zachery Swezey died at the tender age of 17 from a ruptured appendix. This month his parents stood trial for his murder, which prosecutors in Swezey's home state of Washington say they committed by denying Swezey medical care. Swezey's parents, according to court records, decided to anoint him with oil and have fellow church members pray for him instead of taking him to the emergency room.
Yesterday I learned that Zachery's parents, Greg Swezey and JaLea Swezey, had both been acquitted of second-degree murder. As of this morning JaLea Swezey had also been found not guilty of first-degree manslaughter; the jury has yet to reach a verdict for the father's first-degree manslaughter charge.
Zachery's parents claim they thought he had "the flu" but I think Prosecutor Karl Sloan put it best when he shot back that after 3 days of their son vomiting and running a high fever that they had to have known their son, who reportedly could not even make it to the bathroom by himself, needed medical care.
During the trial jurors were shown an autopsy photo of Zachery's body. In it Zachery's skin is visibly green. Experts testified that the dramatic color change was due to the massive infection in his abdomen.
So if Zachery was really that ill why didn't his parents seek medical care, even if it's true--as the father claims--that Zachery never asked to see a doctor? I do not know. After all a church elder actually testified that while the church believes in "faith in God" there would have been no repercussions for the Swezey's if they had taken Zachery to the emergency room.
Except, of course, for the fact that Zachery might still be alive today.