Mother, father and other parishioners arrested after son is beaten to death in NY church: police
Bruce and Deborah Leonard are accused of killing their son in a NY church (WSYR)

Police in New Hartford said on Tuesday that a mother and father had been charged with killing their son in a New York church. Four other church members were charged with assault, and the couple's second son was also found badly beaten.


According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, 19-year-old Lucas Leonard died on Monday after being dropped off by family members at Mohawk Valley Health System's St. Luke's campus "from injuries to his stomach, genitals, back and thighs."

Christopher Leonard, 17, was reportedly hospitalized with similar injuries.

Bruce Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, were charged on Tuesday with first-degree manslaughter.

Four others were charged with second-degree assault: 26-year-old Joseph Irwin, 26-year-old David J. Morey, 54-year-old Linda R. Morey and 33-year-old Sarah L. Ferguso.

Police determined that the victims suffered blunt force trauma at Word of Life Church. The church lists Bruce Leonard as one of its original trustees. The Leonards' residence was being investigated as a secondary crime scene.

Sauquoit Valley Central School District Superintendent Ron Wheelock told the Utica Observer-Dispatch that both of the victims had been home schooled.

All of the defendants were being held in the Oneida County Jail without bail. Police said that more arrests were expected.

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