The church where a 19-year-old man was allegedly murdered by his parents has been described as a "cult."
According to polie, the Word of Life Church in Clayville, New York, is where Lucas Leonard, 19, was beaten to death by his parents, 65-year-old Bruce Leonard and 59-year-old Deborah Leonard. Lucas Leonard's brother, 17-year-old Christopher Leonard, was also found injured and is expected to recover, WKTV-TV reported.
"There's always been weird things going on," Julie Howard, who lives near the church, said. "The cops have been called there before. They're not allowed in the building. They can't get in the building."
Howard said the "cult" has been going on for around 30 years and that there are about 30 people involved.
Other neighbors have reported seeing members only after 3 a.m. and hearing chants coming from inside, Syracuse.com reported. Howard said she has also heard dogs and and believes members have been breeding them.
New Hartford police Lt. Timothy O'Neill wouldn't say exactly what objects were used in the recent beatings but did say that there was "punching and kicking."
In addition to the parents being charged, four other members have also been arrested on assault charges. They are Joseph Irwin and David Morey, both 26, Linda Morey, 54, and Sarah Ferguson, 33.
Follow Jon Street (@JonStreet) on Twitter