Pastor, victim’s father among 7 charged with teen’s death at NY church

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A teenager was beaten to death at this New York church. His parents, pastor and four others have been charged with murder in the killing.  Image from CBS Evening News video.

A teenager was beaten to death at this New York church. His parents, pastor and four others have been charged with murder in the killing. Image from CBS Evening News video.

ALBANY, N.Y., Nov 24 (Reuters) – Seven people were criminally charged on Tuesday for their alleged role in the fatal October beating of a teenager during a counseling session at an upstate New York church.

A grand jury charged Bruce Leonard, 65, with second-degree murder, alleging that he fatally beat his 19-year old son Lucas and badly injured his 17-year-old son Christopher over the course of 10 hours following services at the Word of Life Church in Chadwicks, New York, about 50 miles east of Syracuse in an attempt to get them to confess their sins.

Leonard faces 13 criminal counts including second-degree murder, first-degree manslaughter, kidnapping and gang assault, according to an indictment released by the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office.

The church’s pastor, Daniel Irwin, the victims’ sister, Sarah Ferguson and four fellow parishioners were also indicted on lesser charges for their alleged roles in the attack.

In October, Bruce Leonard and his wife Deborah Leonard, 59, were charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of their son.