Contact us

AP, Charlotte Observer seek access in church beating case

By MITCH WEISS and HOLBROOK MOHR, The Associated Press

The Associated Press and the Charlotte Observer filed legal motions Wednesday to gain access to documents and lift a gag order in the case of a North Carolina minister accused of orchestrating the beating of a congregant to expel his “homosexual demons.”

The motions filed by the news outlets are related to the case of Brooke Covington, a minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina. She is charged with kidnapping and assaulting Matthew Fenner in the church’s sanctuary.

Covington is accused of urging others to slap, punch and choke Fenner for nearly two hours in January 2013 in a practice known as “blasting,” which involves intense screaming meant to drive out devils.

Judge Gary Gavenus declared a mistrial June 6 after the jury foreman brought unauthorized documents into deliberations. The judge sealed those documents and issued a gag order preventing witnesses, prosecutors, defense attorneys and jurors from discussing the case.

One of the news organizations’ motions, filed in Rutherford County Superior Court, called the gag order “a blanket, unconstitutional prior restraint on speech which would effectively and improperly curtail public discussion of this case by anyone with knowledge of the case.”

The jury was in its second day of deliberations when Perry Shade Jr. was charged with contempt for sharing documents the judge said compromised the integrity of the jury. The judge had warned jurors repeatedly not to do their own research or bring in outside materials.

Questions remain not only about how Shade was able to get the documents into the jury room, but what information they contained.

The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department and the district attorney’s office are investigating Shade’s actions, sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ricky McKinney told the AP. He said the gag order prevented him from saying more.

The district attorney also cited the gag order in declining to discuss Shade’s actions and possible motivations.

Covington was the first of five people to face trial on charges of assaulting and kidnapping Fenner.

Fenner, now 24, said he was leaving a Jan. 27, 2013, prayer service when nearly two dozen people surrounded him. He testified during Covington’s trial that he wondered that night if he would die.

Earlier this year, the AP published an investigation detailing how Word of Faith Fellowship regularly assaulted congregants in a form of deliverance meant to “purify” sinners by beating out devils.

The sect was founded in 1979 by Jane Whaley, a former math teacher, and her husband, Sam, a former used car salesman. The church grew to about 750 members in North Carolina and nearly 2,000 in churches in Brazil and Ghana, with affiliations in Sweden, Scotland and other countries.

____

Mohr reported from Jackson, Mississippi.

___

Read more of AP’s investigation of the Word of Faith Fellowship here: http://apne.ws/2lmuzDA


宜阳| 乐东| 双柏| 商南| 玉屏| 田林| 永兴| 福州郊区| 平山| 元阳| 胶州| 仁和| 溧水| 奉节| 牡丹江| 新郑| 潮阳| 绥德| 共和| 神农架| 南通| 昌吉| 商南| 易门| 驻马店| 浩尔吐| 南乐| 台北市| 焦作| 东丽| 献县| 香日德| 阿克陶| 灵邱| 溆浦| 余江| 荆州| 青州| 东丰| 五营| 界首| 武功| 镇远| 平定| 当阳| 密云上甸子| 贵溪| 万山| 华山| 乐亭| 丰南| 江津| 德阳| 胡尔勒| 长岭| 理塘| 随州| 伊和郭勒| 金坛| 青河| 引水船| 开鲁| 郴州| 屏边| 大兴| 麻栗坡| 册亨| 洞头| 福安| 东海| 漳浦| 宜川| 密云上甸子| 华家岭| 铅山| 库米什| 睢宁| 吉首| 本溪| 根河| 寿光| 留坝| 华县| 岫岩| 防城港| 宜良| 望都| 威信| 溧阳| 九台| 南漳| 大石桥| 渠县| 定日| 从江| 百色| 海拉尔| 辉南| 山阳| 苏尼特左旗| 太原古交区| 头道湖| 富川| 畹町镇| 库车| 奉贤| 镇海| 赤峰郊区站| 雅安| 康平| 枣阳| 贵溪| 紫阳| 安阳| 扬中| 泰和| 纳雍| 新昌| 如东| 平泉| 安国| 华容| 龙口| 乐山| 丹徒| 雷州| 绿葱坡| 天长| 马山| 中卫| 南江| 青神| 蒲江| 蓝山| 长顺| 曲靖| 盐源| 信丰| 神木| 景谷| 洪家| 清原| 燕尾港| 东至| 松江| 景泰| 遂平| 连城| 闽侯| 温县| 滁州| 石浦| 沾化| 多伦| 武胜| 子洲| 静海| 康乐| 洪洞| 南昌| 巴南| 吴堡| 寿县| 五原| 太仆寺旗| 正阳| 宜章| 达州| 辰溪| 肥东| 特克斯| 汕头| 宜章| 西安| 马公| 甘德| 泸水| 淄博| 新晃| 华阴| 灵璧| 大方| 崇明| 尼勒克| 开鲁| 土默特右旗| 新乐| 黄骅| 沁城| 乌审旗| 阿图什| 铜陵| 中泉子| 汉中| 澳门| 昌都| 瓮安| 一八五团| 钟山| 临江| 襄垣| 牟平| 扶风| 西乡| 怀来| 平泉| 青县| 祥云| 长丰| 嘉祥| 陆川| 达坂城| 清水| 奉节| 裕民| 亳州| 龙胜| 希拉穆仁| 宁波| 汉川| 房县| 塔什库尔干| 罗子沟| 清水| 唐山| 景东| 尉氏| 白云鄂博| 宁安| 天祝| 行唐| 句容| 六枝| 长安| 大丰| 龙南| 布拖| 昆明| 大勐龙| 卫辉| 崆峒| 五台山| 会昌| 莒南| 富川| 永泰| 沽源| 印江| 鄂温克旗| 毕节| 察哈尔右翼中旗| 索县| 炉山| 普格| 义县| 通榆| 天津| 尚志| 丹棱| 苏州| 宁津| 新港| 青川| 伊宁| 新平| 一八五团| 原平| 罗定| 榆社| 合作| 大关| 辽中| 江夏| 神农架| 长岭| 大佘太| 平凉| 济宁| 青龙| 邱县| 烟台| 武鸣| 景泰| 那日图| 乐陵| 陵水| 陇西| 赤水| 涞水| 旬阳| 郏县| 秀屿港| 内邱| 承德县| 金山| 泰兴| 岚皋| 乌伊岭| 太仆寺旗| 应县| 南宁城区| 太和| 巨鹿| 涟源| 德安| 珊瑚岛| 万山| 拐子湖| 信丰| 北辰| 赵县| 迁安| 松原| 灵山| 雅江| 康山| 麻城| 拐子湖| 庆云| 威信| 礼县| 清水河| 宜兰| 陇西| 青冈| 大武口| 临潼| 温县| 芷江| 平坝| 壤塘| 平坝| 自贡| 金坛| 伊宁| 高唐| 勃利| 广州| 喀什| 饶平| 泰安| 北川| 南乐| 衡阳县| 正宁| 德清| 金山| 广元| 乡城| 沅江| 福州| 淅川| 霍城| 托克托| 阿拉善左旗| 乌拉特中旗| 正兰旗| 昌平| 铜陵| 北碚| 临邑| 常德| 望奎| 沧州| 柳林| 茌平| 中心站| 桐城| 眉山| 灵璧| 虞城| 扎兰屯| 丹东| 茂名| 漯河| 汤原| 金塔| 通海| 大同县| 郁南| 榆次| 聂拉木| 五指山| 莫索湾| 永州| 马山| 马关| 南宁城区| 汪清| 纳溪| 黄平旧洲| 全南| 奇台| 潞西| 宜阳| 开县| 宝鸡县| 弥渡| 曲沃| 富蕴