A man whose wife died during a home childbirth while he allegedly performed ritualistic chants and gave her herbal tea was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months probation on his guilty plea to negligent homicide.

James Edward Peiffer, 48, also known as Gentlewind, pleaded guilty to the reduced charge during the second day of this trial for the July 4, 1987, death of his wife during the delivery a of healthy baby at home.In exchange for his plea, prosecutors dismissed a single count of manslaughter, a court clerk said.

Fifth District Judge Philip Eves suspended a prison term in favor of probation, on the condition Peiffer maintain full-time employment or schooling. In addition, the judge ordered him to perform 250 hours community service at a hospital or by giving lectures on the hazards of home births.

Prosecutors claimed Eileen Fuhriman, 39, who had difficulty delivering the placenta, allegedly bled to death while her husband said chants and offered her tea to stop her bleeding.

Peiffer has allegedly claimed to be a medicine man and had been warned not to participate in home births because his wife had had difficulty in previous childbirths, prosecutors said.