New York couple charged with beating son to death inside church

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NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. — Police say a central New York couple has been charged with fatally beating their 19-year-old son inside a church and four fellow church members have been charged with assault.

The attack also left the young man’s 17-year-old brother hospitalized in serious condition with injuries from an assault.

The New Hartford Police Department says Bruce and Deborah Leonard of Clayville are charged with first-degree manslaughter in the death of their son Lucas.

Police say Lucas Leonard died Monday after he was beaten at Word of Life Church in New Hartford with injuries to his stomach, genitals, back, and thighs, according to the Utica Observer-Dispatch.

Fellow church members Joseph Irwin, 26, of Chadwicks, N.Y., David J. Morey, 26, of Utica, N.Y., Linda R. Morey, 54, of Utica, N.Y., Sarah L. Ferguson, 33, of Clayville, N.Y. — along with the parents were arraigned Tuesday and sent to Oneida County Jail without bail.

Bruce Leonard’s lawyer said it was too early to comment on details of the case. Deborah Leonard’s lawyer declined to comment.

Police said more arrests are expected as the investigation continues. A possible motive wasn’t disclosed.