New York City - Vegan Couple Set For Trial
March 10, 2003, 12:06 PM EST
"Jury selection is due to start on Tuesday in the trial of a Queens couple accused of starving their first child nearly to death by feeding her a strict vegan diet.
Prosecutors allege that Joseph and Silva Swinton, both in their early 30s, failed to give essential infant nutrition to their daughter, Ice, before authorities took custody of her in November 2001, when she was 15 months old and weighed half the average weight of a child her age.
They were initially each charged in April with reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child. But prosecutors later added a new charge of first-degree assault against both, which means they each face a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.
Authorities said the couple failed to feed their child breast milk or infant formula. Instead, the couple gave her a vegan diet of ground nuts, fresh squeezed juice, herbal tea, beans, cod liver oil and flaxseed oil."