Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Brother beaten inside church to testify against sister

21 October 2015, 12:15

New Hartford — The surviving brother of a pair of teenagers viciously beaten during a church counseling session is scheduled to testify against a relative who is among six church members charged in the attack.

Christopher Leonard, 17, is expected Wednesday to detail the Oct. 11 pummeling during a hearing on assault charges against his 33-year-old half-sister, Sarah Ferguson. Lucas Leonard, 19, died in the attack.

Ferguson, along with the victims' parents, Bruce and Deborah Leonard, and three other church members beat the brothers with fists, feet and an electrical cord, authorities said, as punishment for plans to leave the insular Word of Life Christian Church.

Christopher Leonard was hospitalized with injuries to his torso and genitals until being released over the weekend to the custody of Oneida County Child Protective Services, New Hartford police said.

Also Read: Man get 125 years after cleaver murders

His parents are charged with manslaughter and were being held on $100,000 bail.

Ferguson, a mother of four, also remains in custody after being charged, along with three others, with lesser counts of assault. Joseph Irwin, 26, David Morey, 26, and Morey's 54-year-old mother, Linda Morey, have been released on bail.

Wednesday's preliminary hearing is to determine whether authorities can continue to hold Ferguson.

All six have pleaded not guilty.

An attorney for the victims' mother has said she was too timid to stop the beating. A lawyer for the father has said the incident stemmed from a family meeting that had nothing to do with the church.

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara said last week that the case will go to a grand jury within 45 days and that additional charges are likely.

- AP

Tags us

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...