Woman convicted of manslaughter in brother’s church killing

Sarah Ferguson stands in court during a hearing, Friday, Oct. 16, 2015, in New Hartford, N.Y. Bruce Leonard and his wife Deborah Leonard have been charged with fatally beating their 19-year-old son inside a church, while Ferguson is one four fellow church members who have been charged with assault in an attack that also left the young man's brother severely injured. (Tina Russell/Observer-Dispatch via AP, Pool)

UTICA, N.Y. (AP) – 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 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.

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