Three more charged in church beating death

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NEW HARTFORD — Three new people have been charged tonight in the beating death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard at the Word of Life church in Chadwicks, including Pastor Tiffanie Irwin.

Irwin, her mother, Tracie Irwin, and her brother, Daniel Irwin, were taken into custody and were arraigned before County Court Judge Michael L. Dwyer this afternoon. The indictment against the Word of the Life church members was handed down by the grand jury today.

Most of the remaining defendants, who were charged last month, are expected to appear in court Wednesday morning.

Charges range from second-degree murder to first-degree kidnapping to second-degree gang assault, according to the indictment.

Authorities said between Oct. 11 and 12, nine members of the Word of Life Church on Oneida Street in Chadwicks brutally attacked brothers Lucas, 19, and Christopher Leonard, 17. Police said Lucas had expressed interest in leaving the secluded church.

Following several hours of beating and interrogation, police said Lucas succumbed to his injuries. His brother, Christopher, survived and was hospitalized.

Six church members — including the brothers' parents, Bruce and Deborah Leonard — were taken into custody shortly after the beatings. Five of them were included in today's indictment. The case of the boy's mother, Deborah Leonard, will be handled separately, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Charged:

• Tiffanie Irwin, 29, of Chadwicks, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, five counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count each of first and second-degree manslaughter, and two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. Irwin pleaded not guilty before Judge Dwyer tonight. She will reappear in court on Dec. 7.

• Traci Irwin, 49, of Chadwicks, is charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of second-degree manslaughter, five counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree gang assault. Irwin pleaded not guilty this afternoon and is scheduled to reappear on Wednesday.

• Daniel Irwin, 24, of Chadwicks, is charged with one count of second-degree manslaughter, three counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count of first-degree assault and two counts of first-degree gang assault. He pleaded not guilty this afternoon and will return on Wednesday.

• Joseph Irwin, 22, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, five counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count each of first and second-degree manslaughter, and two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. He pleaded not guilty this afternoon and is scheduled to reappear on Dec. 7.

• Bruce Leonard, 65, of Clayville, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, five counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count each of first and second-degree manslaughter, and two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. He is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

• Sarah Ferguson, 33, of Clayville, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, five counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count each of first and second-degree manslaughter, and two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. She is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

• David Morey, 26, of Utica, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, five counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count each of first and second-degree manslaughter, and two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. He is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

• Linda Morey, 54, of Utica, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, five counts of first-degree kidnapping, one count each of first and second-degree manslaughter, and two counts each of first-degree assault and first-degree gang assault. She is expected to appear in court on Wednesday.

• Deborah Leonard, 59, of Clayville, is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 2. Her charges have not yet been released.

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