Father 'beats son to death in church'

Father 'beats son to death in church'
Published: 2015 October 17 17:51:42 (12472 Views)
A father beat his teenage son to death with an electric cord during a family counselling session inside the "sanctuary room" of a Christian church, a court has heard.

A witness to the death of Lucas Leonard testified that he saw Bruce Leonard hitting the 19-year-old with what he thought was a belt.

A police officer later told the court the weapon was actually an electrical extension cord.

Leonard Snr, 65, and his wife Deborah, 59, have been charged with manslaughter following the death of their son.

They deny the charge and are currently being held in lieu of $100,000 bail each.

Four of the couple's fellow parishioners were also charged with assaulting the teenager's younger brother, Christopher, on Sunday at the Word of Life Church in Chadwicks, New York.

The group is accused of beating the brothers over the course of more than 10 hours after church services in an attempt to get the teenagers to confess to their sins and apologise.

Older brother Lucas died on Monday afternoon after being driven to a hospital by family members, who falsely told doctors the teenager had suffered a gunshot wound, police said.

Leonard's injuries were consistent with blunt force trauma to his torso and extremities, police said.



New Hartford police and the New York State Police said they launched a joint investigation after being notified about the suspicious death.

Christopher was being treated in an area hospital for blunt force trauma to his body and extremities and was in serious condition.

Sarah Ferguson, 33, the victims' sister, and fellow church members Linda Morey, 54, David Morey, 26, and Joseph Irwin, 26, were arrested on charges of assault in the second degree.

All of the defendants appeared at Friday's hearing. Ferguson and Irwin are scheduled to appear in court again next Friday.

They were unable to make $50,000 bail each and will remain in custody at the Oneida County Jail.

The Moreys were freed on $50,000 bond each and were ordered to appear in court on Dec. 15.

Several children were removed from the church and turned over to Oneida County Child Protective Services.

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said there was not enough evidence to charge the couple with murder.

Additional charges and arrests were pending, police said.

Investigators disclosed little about the Word of Life Church, which describes itself on the front of its parish simply as a Christian church.




Source - Mirror

Tags: church, abuse, safety,
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