Pastor among 8 indicted in fatal New York church beating

FILE -This Oct. 15, 2015 file photo shows the Word of Life church in New Hartford, N.Y. Former members of the upstate New York church where two teens were viciously beaten paint a picture of a once vibrant and joyous house of worship that had declined into a place of fear and intimidation under new leadership. Six church leaders and parishioners now face charges including manslaughter and assault for a brutal beating last Sunday that left 19-year-old Lucas Leonard dead and his 17-year-old brother Christopher hospitalized. Church members Bruce and Deborah Leonard, parents of the victims, face the most serious charge of manslaughter. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

UTICA, N.Y. (AP) – The pastor of an upstate New York church where a young man was beaten to death and his younger brother seriously injured has been indicted on murder charges.

Pastor Tiffanie Irwin’s mother, Traci Irwin, also was charged Tuesday, as were Tiffanie Irwin’s two brothers, the victims’ father and half-sister and two other church members.

The indictment charges all but one of the Irwin brothers with second-degree murder. All eight face charges of manslaughter, kidnapping, assault and gang assault. They were in court Tuesday.

Plea information wasn’t initially available. Messages left for defense attorneys weren’t immediately returned.

Authorities have said “spiritual counseling” spiraled into a gang attack on 19-year-old Lucas Leonard and his 17-year-old brother, Christopher. The older brother died from injuries suffered at the Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford on Oct. 12.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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