Deliberations to continue Tues. in beating of ex-church member

RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (AP) – The jury in the case of a North Carolina minister accused of orchestrating the beating of a gay congregant has gone home for the day after deliberating for about an hour.

Deliberations will resume Tuesday morning.

Brooke Covington, a longtime minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, is accused of leading the 2013 beating of former member Matthew Fenner to expel his “homosexual demons.”

During closing arguments Monday, defense lawyer David Teddy said Fenner requested the form of prayer delivered by church congregants and knew what was coming.

Prosecutor Garland Byers argued that people should not be assaulted in the name of religion.

Byers said Fenner was held against his will and attacked.

Covington is the first of five church members to face trial in the case.

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