Case of gay man beaten by NC church members now in hands of jury 4 years later

Matthew Fenner underwent gay conversion therapy at a North Carolina church

RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (AP) — More than four years after Matthew Fenner said he was beaten by members of his North Carolina church for being gay, the fate of one of his ministers is in the hands of a jury.

RELATED: NC man who underwent gay conversion therapy speaks out

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

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Fenner said he was punched, choked and screamed at for two hours in the sanctuary in January 2013.

The jury deliberated for about an hour Monday and will resume deliberating Tuesday.

Prosecutor Garland Byers said Fenner was held against his will and attacked. Defense lawyer David Teddy said Fenner requested the form of prayer.

If convicted, Covington faces two years in prison. Four others will be tried separately.

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