Fatal church beating: dead teen's parents jailed in NY

Fatal church beating: dead teen's parents jailed in NY February 9, 2017

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.

He added:

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.

Last year we reported on the case here, here and here.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn

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  • AgentCormac

    ‘I hope that he outlives his sentence and someday he can get his family back together again.’
    Hmmmm… guess that might be a bit tricky, given he beat one of his kids to death.

  • Daz

    “He’s truly a kind and compassionate and caring person.”

    He is a truly kind and compassionate child-murderer, who only murders children as an act of kindness and compassion.

  • Broga

    Even after being convicted of a brutal killing this thug is still seen by his deluded Christian friends as a kind person. They have lost touch with reality after years of religious brainwashing.

  • But what about Deuteronomy 13:7-12?

  • remigius

    “…at the time of the beating was severely severely injured.”
    Severely injuring someone is bad enough, but to severely injure someone severely seems a bit severe. What is wrong with these people?

  • sailor1031

    Assault? FFS it was manslaughter at the very least. Another pass for religion. And notice the wife gets half the husband’s sentence for the same crime. Why does the law persist in believing that women are just led into crime, because they are stupid or something, rather than being the instigators or full participants?
    In an american court Messalina would likely have got a couple of years probation.

  • Laura Roberts

    Let’s call it a “silver lining” that (a) they at least feel the need to express regret and (b) they don’t refer to it as an “honor killing”. And evidently they didn’t shout “god is great” as they were led away.

  • AgentCormac

    A quick check on the ‘Things to do in New Hartford’ FB page makes no mention of beating your own children to death. IMHO an oversight which the local tourist board needs to address.

  • John the Drunkard

    Now now. Assisting your husband in beating your son to death is just a basic part of ‘submissive,’ ‘surrendered,’ womanhood.
    Seriously, the status of women and children under these fringe churches makes responsibility a tough issue. They beat women too you know.

  • Playonwords

    You know “true Christians” by their ability to justify torture and murder in Jesus’ name

  • John

    No culpability for church leaders and church teachings.
    Why is that – or is it mentioned in earlier reports?