An unemployed ex-minister who said he was too proud to go on welfare and expected God to provide has been charged with murder in the starving of his 14-year-old son, who was found dead weighing 69 pounds.

Larry Cottam and his wife, Leona Cottam, were charged Thursday with criminal homicide in the death of their son, Eric, who authorities said had not eaten in at least three weeks and weighed about 80 pounds less than normal.Dr. George E. Hudock, Jr., Luzerne County coroner, ruled the teenager's death a homicide.

"I don't hold God responsible," Larry Cottam said Thursday night from Mercy Hospital, where he and his wife and their 12-year-old daugther, Laura, were listed in serious condition with malnutrition. "The error was on my part, not God's."