Couple in court today

Date: 2010-02-25

Paradise couple Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz are scheduled to appear in court today on charges of murder and torture in the death of their adopted 7-year-old daughter. The couple is expected to enter a plea today. They are accused killing 7-year-old Lydia Schatz and severely beating their 11-year-old adopted daughter, Zariah Schatz.

Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said he now has evidence showing a direct connection between the Schatz case and No Greater Joy Ministry, a fundamentalist religious organization founded by Michael and Debi Pearl. He would not disclose the evidence at this time. Ramsey said Lydia Schatz was held down for several hours by one parent while the other struck her repeatedly with a quarter-inch plumbing supply line. He said Kevin and Elizabeth were both involved in the beating, and it appears they "took turns."

The use of the quarter-inch plumbing supply line was what led investigators at the DA's office to look at the No Greater Joy Ministry-as this is the only organization that recommends parents use this as a spanking instrument. It is unlikely however, that the Pearls or their ministry would be held legally accountable.

"I don't think it would fly," Ramsey said, reiterating that the Pearls specifically warn against beating children, or spanking in a way that would severely injure children - which is what the Schatzes are accused of doing. They also warn parents not to spank their children in anger. They tell parents to remain
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calm and consistent.

Zariah Schatz was interviewed earlier this week at the Butte County District Attor-ney's Office, along with her remaining seven siblings. She had been hospitalized and placed in critical condition. Authorities say she will make a full recovery.

Kevin and Elizabeth Schatz are both being held on bail of $2 million. They are scheduled to appear before Superior Court Judge Kristen Lucena at 8:30 this morning.

Charges include felony murder, felony torture, and a misdemeanor count of cruelty to a child by inflicting injury.

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