Mugshot Word of Life Church

Police Find Neglected Pets, Feces-Covered Floors In Home Of Parents Charged With Killing Son In ‘Cult-Like’ Church

Lucas Leonard, 19, was beaten to death by his parents and church parishioners inside the Word of God Christian Church located in New Hartford, New York, after he was accused of practicing witchcraft. The teen sustained injuries so severe in the beating that medical personnel originally thought he had been shot.

Now, police reveal the disturbing state of the home in which the Leonard family lived noting floors covered in feces with numerous neglected pets on the premises. In addition to the death of their 19-year-old son Lucas, the parents, Deborah and Bruce Leonard, also allegedly beat their other son in the church over accusations of witchcraft as well. Christopher, 17, was taken to the hospital in critical condition after police found him in a church room suffering from injuries sustained during the beating.

Bruce Deborah Leonard Word of Life Christian Church
The Word of Life Christian Church building (Credit: Google Street View screen capture)

The Daily Mail reports that police searched the home of Deborah and Bruce Leonard after their son Lucas was killed in a church “counseling session” gone bad. Their other son, 17-year-old Christopher, was also in critical condition following a beating he received at the church. The pair allegedly were placed in the room with their parents and other church parishioners and accused of practicing witchcraft. The teens were told to confess their sins and repent while being beaten by those in the room for 14 hours.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Lucas was taken into the “counseling session” Sunday after church and physically tortured until Monday afternoon when it was discovered that he was no longer breathing. The teen was then rushed to the hospital where staff called the police over a possible gunshot wound. However, after assessing the teen, it was determined the injuries were from blunt force trauma. The police immediately stormed the church and discovered Lucas’ brother Christopher in a church room with severe injuries. The pair had been beaten together in the room over allegations of witchcraft.

Following the arrest, police went to the Leonard home and discovered a horrifying scene that included floors covered in animal urine and feces. Syracuse.com notes that four dogs, three birds, and seven cats were taken by a local advocacy group from the Leonard’s home. They noted that two dogs were found in cages in the basement that were completely neglected and living in filth. The animals allegedly had sores on their feet from spending so much time walking on feces and the birds had overgrown beaks and talons. The birds were so badly neglected that their talons had began to curl under themselves.

Meanwhile, some of the members of the World of Life church are speaking out and claim that on the night of the boys’ beating, the church pastor had reported that someone in the church was practicing witchcraft. The church-goer claims that the Leonard boys admitted to casting spells and claimed that they wanted the church deacons to die. One of the teens was allegedly also practicing voodoo and was threatening to make a voodoo doll of deacons to torment them with. The “counseling session” was allegedly designed to make the boys repent for their sins of witchcraft and to keep them from leaving the church.

word of life church
The Word of Life Church was described as “cult-like” by nearby residents. (Image Credit: Google)

The mother, who is still in custody, claims she was “helpless” during the ordeal and didn’t have the power to stop the violent turn of events. She claims the teens’ father was to blame. Police are still trying to determine why the “counseling session” turned so violent with the teens being beaten with the parishioners’ fists, whipped with cords, and kicked.

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