Bruce Leonard, 66, and his wife Deborah, 60. above, were sentenced this week to 10 and five years in prison following the death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard who received fatal injuries at the Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford.
Lucas’s brother Christopher, who was 17 at the time of the beating was severely severely injured. The parents had pleaded guilty to assault prior to their sentencing.
Authorities said the parents were part of a group of church leaders and members who beat the brothers after they discussed leaving the insular Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford.
They were the last of nine defendants to be sentenced for the attack on the teens which formed part of a “counseling session” at the church.
According to this report, the couple’s attorney David Longeretta said of Bruce Leonard:
He’s truly a kind and compassionate and caring person. This is a tragedy that never should have occurred. When I said his top emotion is remorse, which is followed by deep grief, that doesn’t do justice to what Mr Leonard actually goes through.
It’s a terrible tragedy. The man lost his family and he might not outlive his sentence. I don’t know, he’s (66 years old). I think you can see from what everybody said he’s a good man who did a bad thing and failed to perceive the risk and that cost him his son. I hope that he outlives his sentence and someday he can get his family back together again.
Deborah Leonard expressed her “extreme sorrow” over what occurred, and took a moment to apologise to her “church family”, a group that included all of her co-defendants.
Weeping, she said:
I apologise for bringing all of you into this. I love you all very much and ask for your forgiveness. Again, I want to apologise to my boys (Christopher and Lucas) for not recognising the warning signs and not getting help and for the environment you were raised in. You deserve much better.