Trial date requested in Word of Faith abuse case

This 2016 image from video shows the entrance to the Word of Faith Fellowship church in Spindale, N.C. Newcomers to the Word of Faith Fellowship live by a list of strict rules for daily life, which sect leader Jane Whaley says God revealed to her, former members say. (AP Photo/Alex Sanz)

RUTHERFORD Co., NC (WSPA) –  Word of Faith members accused of beating a former member could go on trial in May.

In 2015, five church members were indicted on kidnapping and assault charges after deputies say Matthew  Fenner was beaten because he was gay.

Justin Covington, 20, of Rutherfordton; Brooke Covington, 56, of Rutherfordton; Robert Walker Jr., 26, of Spindale; and Adam Bartley, 25, of Rutherfordton have been indicted on one count each of second-degree kidnapping and simple assault.

Sarah Covington Anderson, 27, of Rutherfordton, faces the same charge and one count of assault inflicting physical injury by strangulation.

Fenner said he was attacked in 2013 and claimed he was berated, pushed, and told he was disgusting to try and break him free of homosexual demons.

The Rutherford County District Attorney’s office says motions filed by the defense have delayed the case.

The DA has requested a trial date of May 22 to hear the case.

A venue has not been set as of Tuesday morning.


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