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Home » Turner Law Offices Blog » Teen Beaten to Death by Parents for Wanting to Leave Church

Teen Beaten to Death by Parents for Wanting to Leave Church

bvThe Parents of the Year Award will not go to this New York couple who beat their sons with a computer power-cord for expressing the desire to leave a cult-like church in New Hartford, New York. Bruce and Deborah Leonard beat their sons Lucas, 19, to death and left Christopher, 17, hospitalized after a violent 10-hour counseling session that lasted from 9 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday which consisted of constant beating. Doctors at the hospital said the injuries were so severe it appeared they were shot. Lucas’ groin was beaten so bad it appeared to be an entry-wound from a gunshot, according to one doctor. Also assisting in the deadly counseling session was the victims’ sister Sarah Ferguson, 33, and three others. Bruce and Deborah Leonard are facing first-degree manslaughter charges, which is a Class B felony, and will appear in court Friday. The others are being charged with second-degree assault but will not have to appear in court until Christopher, the key witness, is no longer hospitalized. 

No Wonder They Wanted to Leave

These parents are sick, and so is the Word of Life Christian Church. While Christopher was being hospitalized, in efforts to take the blame off of them, the parents told hospital officials the sons were beaten because they were being punished for sexually abusing children at the church. Police, however, are dispelling those rumors because there is no proof to support the allegation. The reason they were beaten, according to the church, was to expand the sons’ spiritual state, confess sins and ask for forgiveness — even though they wanted to leave. Already, children from the church have been removed and handed over to the Oneida Child Protective Services.

Assault in Tennessee

If this were to happen in Tennessee, Bruce and Deborah Leonard would face a voluntary manslaughter penalty — a Class C felony. The sentencing for that charge ranges from 3-15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000. For the other four involved, their second-degree assault charges could change based on Christopher’s testimony in court and forensic evidence. It is likely one of the four played a larger role in the beating than the others, and his or her charge could increase to voluntary manslaughter, as well.

Hire Nashville Criminal Defense Lawyers

Assault charges are a serious offense, and it is important to hire a well-trained, knowledgeable lawyer on your side to represent you in a court of law. At Turner Law Offices, P.C., we have over 20 years experience in defending clients. We strive to use our experience to make this unpleasant process as pain-free for you as possible. The consequences for an assault offense are severe, and you need a competent lawyer that can help defend you. Call us or Request a Free Initial Consultation online to speak with one of our excellent attorneys today!

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