Leonard, 19, died after what District Attorney Scott McNamara of Oneida County said was a 10-hour-long attack beginning on Sunday night and lasting until Monday morning. His brother Christopher, 17, is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries. Their parents have been charged with manslaughter and their half-sister has been charged with assault.
According to the Times, authorities said the beating began after the church’s 29-year-old pastor, Tiffanie Irwin, called a meeting to address the boys’ loyalty to the church. Irwin’s mother, Traci, is the congregation’s spiritual leader. But defense lawyers for the boys’ parents, Bruce Leonard, 65, and Deborah Leonard, 59, disputed this account.
“They were being confronted to confess their sins and to repent,” Garramone said. “What started as some mild flogging spun out of control into something much more violent.”
New Hartford Police Department spokesman Lt. Timothy O’Neill said that this account was “completely unfounded.”