Co-defendant testifies against Word of Faith minister


One of the five people charged with trying to beat “homosexual demons” out of a fellow church member incriminated herself on the stand and admitted to throwing out the first blow in the attack.


Despite her attorney’s objections, Sarah Anderson, 30, testified that she told other leaders at Word of Faith Fellowship that Matthew Fenner had experienced “some kind of sexual sin or thought.”


She claimed Minister Brooke Covington, who is standing trial for kidnapping and assault, confronted the 23-year-old about his homosexual thoughts and that she started pushing Fenner’s chest, screaming “Open your heart!”


That’s when Anderson said she slapped Fenner in the face, with about 30 other members of the church joining in — beating, screaming at and choking the man for hours. Even after he admitted to having homosexual thoughts in a dream, the assault continued.


Fenner, who has since left the church, testified earlier this week that he thought he was “going to die” during the Jan. 2013 prayer session or what they call “blasting.”

Five members of the church 'Word of Faith Fellowship' in North Carolina faces simple assault and kidnapping charges in the 2013 attack on Matthew Fenner, who claims he was targeted for being gay.

Five members of the church ‘Word of Faith Fellowship’ in North Carolina faces simple assault and kidnapping charges in the 2013 attack on Matthew Fenner, who claims he was targeted for being gay.

(WSPA)


Anderson additionally claimed Covington and other church leaders interfered with her affidavit the night of the assault and that they coached her on her testimony. She claimed they told her to say no one got violent with Fenner, WLOS reported.


In cross-examination, the defense accused Anderson of instigating the attack, which she denied.


During opening statements the day prior, defense attorney David Teddy said the session was routine prayer and lasted no longer then 20 minutes, noting Fenner hugged everyone at the end of it.


Anderson said she did not make a deal with prosecution and offered no reason for incriminating herself in the case. She left the church in February 2016 after accusing Covington and other church leaders of abusing her 1-year-old son.

Both Matthew Fenner and Sarah Anderson have left the church.

Both Matthew Fenner and Sarah Anderson have left the church.

(WSPA)


Her attorney attempted to keep her from taking the stand, explaining that she did not understand the legal consequences she was opening herself up to. While she was testifying as the state’s witness on Friday, she has been charged with kidnapping, assault by strangulation and simple assault in a separate case, according to the news station.


If Covington, 58, is convicted on her charges, she faces up to two years in prison. Her trial is the first of five in the case, with each suspect slated to be tried separately.


With News Wire Services

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