RUTHERFORDTON, N.C. (AP) - A judge has declared a mistrial in the case of a North Carolina church minister accused in the beating of a congregant who says he was attacked to expel his "homosexual demons."
The judge cited the misbehavior of a juror in declaring the mistrial. Brooke Covington, a longtime minister at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale, North Carolina, had faced up to two years in prison if convicted on charges of kidnapping and assaulting former member Matthew Fenner in January 2013.
The 58-year-old Covington was the first of five church members to face trial in the case. Each defendant will be tried separately.
Fenner, who is now 23, says he was slapped, punched, choked and screamed at for two hours as they tried to expel his "homosexual demons."
This morning, a man was charged with harassing the jurors deliberating in the trial.
Chad Metcalf was brought before Superior Court Judge Gary Gavenus in handcuffs Tuesday after he allegedly told jurors they need to reach a verdict in the case. The jury began deliberating Monday and resumed Tuesday.
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