A couple faces felony charges after their 11-year-old son died allegedly because they did not give him medication he required after having a heart transplant four years ago, prosecutors say.
David Stroud, 41, and Jennifer Stroud, 36, of Park City each pleaded not guilty Thursday to endangering the life of a child.
The couple’s son, Jason, was a student at Woodland School District in Gurnee who died last September after having had eight open heart surgeries. Lake County prosecutors say his parents failed to give him crucial medicine that would have helped David’s body accept his donor heart.
Prosecutors said in court Thursday Jason's body began to reject the heart due to his parents’ failure to administer the daily medication he needed, The Daily Herald reported.
Attorneys for the Strouds say the charges are unfounded.
“I believe [David Stroud] did everything that he possibly could for his son as a father,” attorney Renea Amen told NBC 5, adding that she believes David gave Jason the required medicine.
The couple were indicted on Jan. 8 by a Lake County grand jury and turned themselves in two days later.
Jennifer Stroud posted bond but did not answer NBC 5’s request for comment at her home in Waukegan. David Stroud remains in jail.
Defense attorney LaTonya Burton requested Stroud’s bail be lowered because the crime he is charged with is not violent in nature.
Assistant Lake County State's Attorney Eric Kalata responded by arguing that Stroud "had an obligation—both morally and legally—to properly obtain treatment for his child," the Daily Herald reported.
Judge Daniel Shanes denied the request.
"The allegations are, by your actions or inactions, your son died. Those are serious charges," the newspaper reported Shanes as saying.
The defense, however, does not agree with that assessment.
“[Jason] was ill, although his mother and father did all that they could to help him, unfortunately he passed,” Amen said. “But that’s not a criminal act.”
A school district official tells NBC 5 Jason is remembered fondly.
David Stroud is due back in court March 16. Jennifer Stroud returns to court March 23.