Woman Cleared of Murder in New York Teen's Church Beating Death

What to Know

  • Sarah Ferguson is one of nine relatives and church members charged in the case
  • The attack killed 19-year-old Lucas Leonard and put his brother in the hospital
  • Ferguson's mother and step-father have pleaded guilty to assault

A woman accused of involvement in a group beating that killed her half brother and injured another during a New York church counseling session has been convicted of manslaughter and assault but acquitted of murder.

The verdict against Sarah Ferguson was issued Tuesday by an Oneida (oh-NY'-duh) County judge.

Ferguson is among nine relatives and church members charged in the beating death of 19-year-old Lucas Leonard during a 14-hour session that put his younger brother Christopher Leonard in the hospital in October.

The judge issued guilty verdicts to manslaughter, gang assault and assault charges but said prosecutors hadn't proved Ferguson knew Lucas Leonard could or would die.

Ferguson didn't say anything as she was led from the courtroom. She faces up to 25 years in prison at sentencing in September.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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