Surviving Son in Church Beating Testifies About Attack That Killed His Brother: 'It Hurt Everywhere'
The surviving victim of a beating inside an Upstate New York church testified to the horror he endured, facing his half-sister for the first time since she and five other parishioners- including his parents- allegedly attacked him and his brother, who died after being beat.
Christopher Leonard, 17, said in court Wednesday at a hearing for his sister, Sarah Ferguson, that he was punched in the stomach by a fellow church member before she, his parents, and other congregants beat him everywhere but his head, NBC reported.
“It hurt everywhere,” Leonard reportedly said.
He was taken to another room with earplugs and earmuffs to keep him from hearing what was happening elsewhere, he said.
When Leonard was brought back into the room where he was beaten, he said, he saw brother, 19-year-old Lucas, on the floor.
“I was pretty sure Luke collapsed for some reason,” the soft-spoken teen reportedly said. “He was lying on the ground. I rushed over and saw he wasn’t breathing so I was trying to give him CPR.”
Leonard never spoke about what he and his brother were being allegedly punished for and he was stopped by the judge from revealing what questions were asked, NBC reported.
He testified the violence began after Leonard and his brother were called into a meeting after the church’s eight-hour long Sunday service.
“To talk about what we had done. Lucas and I,” he said.
After being beaten for what law enforcement estimated to be about 14 hours, Lucas was brought to the hospital, but Leonard was not allowed go in to the hospital, he said.
Instead, Leonard said he was driven to and from the hospital without ever going inside and then was taken to the second floor of the church, where he slept through the pain and the constant vomiting.
The brothers’ parents, Bruce Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, were both charged with one count each of first-degree manslaughter, police said. They pleaded not guilty and were each ordered held on $100,000 bail.
Four other church members, David Morey, 26; Linda Morey, 54; Joseph Irwin, 26; and the victims’ sister, Sarah Ferguson, 33, were charged with one count each of second-degree assault. Each pleaded not guilty and bail was set at $50,000 each, officials said.
“Additional arrests and charges are expected to be made in the following days,” police said at the time of the initial arrests.