Appeals court rejects ‘Word of Life’ manslaughter convict’s disagreements


ROCHESTER–A state appeals court rejected claims from the woman convicted of killing her half-brother in the ‘Word of Life’ case.

Nov. 8 court filings show the New York State Supreme Court of Appeals in Rochester responded to Sarah Ferguson’s “contention of each offense (including first-degree manslaughter) is based on legally insufficient evidence of intent to cause serious physical injury.”

Ferguson was sentenced 25-years in prison.

The court said Ferguson’s “contention is not preserved for our review…” and her “…challenge lacks merit…”.

Excerpt from a NYS Supreme Court of Appeals filing, dated Nov. 8 (Rochester, NY)

In 2016, Ferguson–a former member of the ‘Word of Life Christian Church’ cult in Chadwicks–was convicted of first-degree manslaughter, and assault charges for the death of Lucas Leonard in 2015.

The Appellate Court (Fourth Judicial Department) also rejected Ferguson’s contention she was improperly denied effective assistance of counsel, and that the grand jury’s preceding was defective.

However, the court agreed with Ferguson’s contention that her case “should be remitted (back to Oneida County) for a conference or summary hearing to determine what information should be redacted from” her own pre-sentencing report.

Excerpt from a NYS Supreme Court of Appeals filing, dated Nov. 8 (Rochester, NY)


Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.