UTICA, N.Y. – Several members of an insular upstate New York church have pleaded not guilty to being part of a group that beat a young man to death and injured his younger brother.
The victims' father, sister and six church leaders and members are charged in a 13-count indictment with murder, kidnapping, assault and gang assault in the death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard and the beating of 17-year-old Christopher Leonard inside Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford last month.
The father, Bruce Leonard, and half-sister, Sarah Ferguson, pleaded not guilty Wednesday in Oneida County Court, as did church spiritual leader Traci Irwin and members David and Linda Morey.
Two of Irwin's adult children, Joseph and Tiffanie Irwin, pleaded not guilty Tuesday. A third's due in court Monday.
All are being held without bail.