Gay Man Testifies At Trial Of Church Members Who Beat Him

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Published on 1 Jun 2017, 19:55
— A North Carolina man thought he was "going to die" when members of his evangelical church beat and choked him for two hours to expel his "homosexual demons," he testified Thursday.
Matthew Fenner was the first person to take the stand in the assault and kidnapping trial of Brooke Covington, a 58-year-old minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina.
Fenner, 23, said Covington was the leader in a 2013 beating involving numerous congregants. He said Covington pointed out his sexual orientation, saying, "God said there is something wrong in your life."
Fenner said he had cancer as a child and had a biopsy one week before he was assaulted.
"I'm frail and in my mind, I'm thinking, 'is my neck going to break, am I going to die?'" Fenner said.
Covington faces up to two years in prison if convicted. She is the first of five church members to face trial in the case. Each defendant will be tried separately.
Prosecutor Garland Byers said during opening statements that Covington "directed and participated in" the assault.
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