Man sentenced to 30 days in jail for contempt of court in NC chu - FOX Carolina 21

Man sentenced to 30 days in jail for contempt of court in NC church abuse case

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Perry Shade (Source: RCSO) Perry Shade (Source: RCSO)
Chad Metcalf (Source: RCSO) Chad Metcalf (Source: RCSO)
Brooke Covington leaves hearing at Ruftherford County Courthouse (Source: Associated Press) Brooke Covington leaves hearing at Ruftherford County Courthouse (Source: Associated Press)
SPINDALE, NC (AP/ FOX Carolina) -

A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday in the trial against several a North Carolina church leader accused of assaulting a man, resulting in jail time for the jury foreman.

The defendant, Brooke Covington, and four other members of the church are accused of beating a man in the church sanctuary to cast out a “homosexual demon.”

The abuse reportedly took place at Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale back in 2013.

During the opening statement, the victim’s lawyer stated the 23-year-old was yelled at, restrained, pushed, and struck, and was fearful that he would pass out during the 2013 incident.

The Associated Press spent two years investigating the church and previously reported that dozens of former members admitted they had been regularly punched, smacked, choked, slammed to the floor or into wall as means to "purify" them by beating out devils.

The AP’s previous reports also state the church members were forced to lie when investigators looked into the church’s activities and had received coaching on what to say from two district attorneys and a social worker who were connected to the church.

The defense attorney in his opening statements said that the victim may have having a relationship with Covington’s son but denied any assault took place. The attorney said the victim voluntarily returned to the Covington home after the alleged incident.

The victim said he had a cellphone but never used it to call for help, saying it was monitored by church members.

Sarah Anderson, a former church member and co-defendant in the case, took the witness stand on Friday and spoke about the "blasting" session.

She admitted to slapping him when encouraged to engage in the process by Covington.

She testified that Covington and others were "blasting" the victim for approximately 45 minutes, during which time they pushed the victim and choked him. Anderson said the "blasting" session occurred after he had an "unclean" dream about Covington's son.

Anderson left the church in 2016 because she felt it was ruining her life, she said Friday.

On Monday, Anderson's sister, Rachel Bryant, took the stand to testify. She lived at the Covington home at the time of the alleged incident.

Bryant testified to participating the blasting session and said she was present for at least 15 prior sessions concerning the victim. She described Covington screaming at the victim to "get the demons out," during which time the victim looked pale like he was going to pass out.

She also claimed Covington tried to influence testimony after allegations about the incidents surfaced. Bryant left the church in 2015.

The defense called no witnesses in the trial, according to the Associated Press.

Jury deliberations began on Monday but the judge sent the jury home before 6 p.m. and deliberations resumed Tuesday but were cut short by a mistrial.

A judge declared a mistrial after the jury foreman, Perry Shade, is accused of the conducting his own investigation into the case and distributing materials to fellow jurors in the jury room.

Shade has been charged with contempt of court. He was arrested in court, according to a FOX Carolina crew at the scene.

Another man, who the Associated Press identified as Chad Metcalf, is accused of approaching Shade before court on Tuesday and harassing him, telling him the jury needed to reach a verdict.

The Associated Press reports that Metcalf's mother sent a message saying her son was "likely joking" and shouldn't be charged with a crime.

A judge sentenced Shade to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine in a ruling from the bench. 

A judge set Metcalf's bond at $100,000 on a charge of harassment of juror. Warrants state Metcalf "did with the intent to influence the official action of another, Perry shade Jr. (state v Covington), a juror, communicate with said juror by stating to said juror 'guilty.'"

Church members told AP reporters they did not know Metcalf.


Copyright 2017 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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