Pastor among eight charged in fatal New York church beating of teen: Word Of Life Church Members

Published: November 27, 2015

Pastor among eight charged in fatal New York church beating of teen: Word Of Life Church Members, Eight members of the Word of Life Church in New York were indicted by a grand jury Tuesday for the roles they allegedly played in the death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard and the intensive beating of his younger brother Christopher, according to CNN.

As previously reported by HNGN, after expressing desires to leave the church, the boys were allegedly taken to the church for a 14-hour-long “counseling session” to confess their sins, which involved hitting the brothers on their abdomen, thighs, backs and even genitals.

The eight church members indicted include their father, 65-year old Burce Leonard, and the church’s pastor, Tiffany Irwin and her family members Traci, Joseph and Daniel.

The boys’ half-sister, Sarah Ferguson, is also among the accused, as well as a mother and son from the church, Linda and David Morey, respectively, according to Patheos.

The suspects were all charged with assault, manslaughter and kidnapping in regards to Lucas’ death and were also charged with assault and kidnapping in relation to the younger brother’s case, according to Fox 4 News.

Seven of the members have also been charged with the higher count of second-degree murder.

All of the accused have pled not guilty and most of them will be facing a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 7.

The mother, 59-year-old Deborah Leonard, pled guilty to “first-degree assault of Lucas and second-degree assault of Christopher.”

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