UTICA, N.Y. -- The mother of two central New York teenagers beaten during a church counseling session has pleaded guilty to assault in the attack that killed one son and injured the other.
As part of a plea agreement Wednesday, Deborah Leonard admitted taking part in group beatings that killed 19-year-old Lucas Leonard and injured 17-year-old Christopher Leonard after Lucas indicated he wanted to leave the church.
The mother faces up to five years in prison. Deborah Leonard and her husband, Bruce Leonard, initially were charged with manslaughter following the October session inside the Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford. An Oneida County grand jury has since upgraded the charges against Bruce Leonard and several other church members to murder.
All have pleaded not guilty.