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Parents of teen fatally beaten by church group sentenced

UTICA, N.Y. -- A New York state mother and father have been sentenced for their roles in the fatal beating of one son and injuring of another during a counseling session inside the family’s church. 

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This Oct. 15, 2015 file photo shows the Word of Life church in New Hartford, N.Y.  Mike Groll, AP

Bruce Leonard was sentenced to 10 years in prison and his wife, Deborah, received a five-year sentence Monday in Oneida County Court.

The Leonards were among nine people charged in the October 2015 attack that killed 19-year-old Lucas Leonard and severely injured his brother, Christopher, who was 17. They pleaded guilty previously to assault.

Authorities said the parents were part of a group of church leaders and members who beat the brothers after they discussed leaving the insular Word of Life Christian Church in New Hartford.

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