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Author to speak on new book at Gloversville library on Saturday

GLOVERSVILLE — Former members of a deadly Central New York cult are coming to Gloversville this weekend to unveil mysteries surrounding the cult that’s at the center of a 2015 beating death near Utica.

The killing of Lucas Leonard, 19, made worldwide headlines, and is the subject of a new true crime book, “Without a Prayer: The Death of Luscas Leonard and How One Church Became a Cult,” authored by Gloversville native Susan Ashline.

Ashline is returning to her hometown to do a free question and answer with the community, about the book and the cult. Nine cult members, including Lucas’ parents and sister, were convicted of killing the teen and wounding his brother Christopher, 17.

Appellate court judges in Rochester just last week heard the appeal of their sister, Sarah Ferguson, who is asking them to shave some years off her 25-year sentence for manslaughter, assault, and gang assault. The judges are expected to issue their written decision on Sept. 27.

The Gloversville discussion and book signing is on Saturday from 2 to 3:45 p.m., at the Gloversville Public Library, 58 E. Fulton St.

The victims’ oldest sister, Kristel Leonard, is one of two former members of the Word of Life Christian Church who will be taking questions from the audience.

Ashline said she choose to do this event as a “give-back” to the community. “I spent many hours inside the Gloversville library as a child. As an adult, I was among those who donated money toward the recent $9 million renovation project; something I felt was worthwhile. I’m thrilled to be welcomed back to my hometown, and to the library that fostered my deep love of reading and writing.”

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