Tag Archives: loud prayer

Fenner Case: Status Conference for July 29th Postponed

Earlier this week, a source not close to the case informed me that the status conference scheduled for July 29th has been postponed. After verifying the change with additional sources, it was learned that Judge Pope could not be present for the hearing. No subsequent date for this hearing is known at this time.

Let’s not be too concerned. This case will be heard. It may not be in the time frame that many desire or with procedures we are all familiar with; but the charges against Brooke Covington, Justin Covington, Sarah Covington Anderson, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr and Adam Bartley will be resolved. Matthew Fenner will have an answer as to the charges filed over the incident on January 27, 2013 in the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF).

The signature practice of loud prayer and deliverance from WOFF may be on demonstration in the Rutherford County courtroom before these cases are complete. Okay, that will be the day for any and all who are curious to pack the courtroom and witness the controversial “secretive practice” which has been a lightning rod for controversy since 1995 when Inside Edition showed video taken inside WOFF. How can we forget? Why should we ignore it?

When all is said and done with this case, there will be a judgment handed down by proxy on WOFF, loud deliverance prayer and the ministry of Jane Whaley and her top leadership. Yes, five individuals are charged with various levels of crimes, but in the end — Jane Whaley is on trial and she knows it.

Did anyone mention how hot the month of August will be in Spindale?
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Farmer Files Withdrawal of Appeal

Disqualification of WOFF Attorneys Stands

March 17, 2016- Josh Farmer filed an “Appellant’s Motion to Withdraw Appeal” with the North Carolina Court of Appeals. The reasons for the appeal include the fact-

“3. On March 4, 2016- Sarah Anderson retained the independent counsel of Jeffrey Cooper and Benjamin Cooper to represent her in the criminal matter.

4. The remaining appellants, Brooke McFadden Covington and Justin Brock Covington, desire to withdraw their appeal.”

This motion to withdraw allows the Disqualification ORDER of Judge Marvin Pope to stand. Tomblin, Farmer and Morris, now- Farmer and Morris LAW, PLLC or their associates can no longer represent any of the five defendants in any matter related to the indictments/charges in this case.

wd of appeal March 17th

This clears the way for another court date to resolve pre-trial motions involving change of venue, change of venire as well as keeping Judge Pope for the remainder of the case. It is reasonable to assume the next court date for this case will be within a month.
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Summary of Events in Matthew Fenner Case as of Sept. 18, 2015 (court docs)

Court ROom #2
Court Room #2

This week brought more motions and notices in the Matthew Fenner case.

September 15th- Rccatalyst.com reported Attorney Beeker withdraws from Fenner Case. They also reported Ms. Beeker filed a continuance for the three defendants, Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Sarah Anderson for more time for them to find counsel. Beeker included Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. in the list of defendants. Walker’s attorney of record, Matthew Cabe, did not sign the motion. Could this just be sloppy paperwork? It is not clear how this will be treated during Monday’s session.

On the same day, the disqualified Josh Farmer filed a Petition for Writ of Supersedeas and Motion for Temporary Stay on behalf of Brooke M. Covington, Justin B. Covington and Sarah C. Anderson in the North Carolina Court of Appeals (19 pages). Mr. Farmer along with Mark Morris also filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari (157 pages). The review of these documents is too long for this post. We will look at them in an upcoming post. There is a lot of feedback to offer about what was put in and what was left out of these documents. There is a docket entry for the filings, the fee has not been paid and it is unclear whether the Court will review and act on these filings.

September 18th, a motion from Adam Bartley’s attorney Robert Denton arrived in the mail and the clerk’s time stamped it into the records. We review this Motion to Continue All Motions below. Also, just before 5:00PM, Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers filed a response to Denton’s Motion. I do not have a copy, but will review it in a later post. For now, it is enough to look at Denton’s Motion.
Continue reading Summary of Events in Matthew Fenner Case as of Sept. 18, 2015 (court docs)

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WOFFGATE- Another Motion Filed Thursday in Matthew Fenner Case

Rcatalyst.com reports this story. Another motion was filed by Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers in the Matthew Fenner case on Thursday. “This is a Notice of Hearing on a Motion for Special Venire from Another County.” This motion is for the jury selection in the trial of five defendants in the Matthew Fenner case: Brooke Covington, Sarah Anderson, Justin Covington, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. and Adam Bartley. The charges in the case include simple assault and second degree kidnapping. Sarah also faces a charge for allegedly attempting to strangle Matthew.

The hearing is scheduled for September 21, 2015 at 9:30AM which is the same session in which the Change of Venue request filed earlier in the year by Tomblin, Farmer and Morris is set to be heard.

From the article, “The State asserts that the Defendants can receive a fair trial in Rutherford County. The N.C. Supreme Court has held that the existence of pretrial publicity by itself does not establish a reasonable likelihood that a defendant cannot receive a fair trial in the county where the crime was committed.

Byers further states that it is logistically impractical to have the trial in another county. Additionally, the appearance of any special treatment to these defendants should be avoided. …the State requests that jurors be brought in from Buncombe County, NC. The requirement of Jurors to travel to a county different from their residence is expressly authorized by the N.C. state statute.”

What does this mean? It means two things to me. First, Mr. Byers is attempting in every way to provide an environment where this case can be fairly heard for victim and defendants. Second, having the jurors brought in will in some regards may create more media attention. I do not believe this aspect of the trial is under direct control of Mr. Byers, nor should it be. This case has and will continue to be newsworthy to many in NC and across the country. Certainly, a scenario of five potential aggressors versus one victim is noteworthy. The laws of our State are meant to protect victims in these situations and justly penalize the aggressors.

The Summer of Decision rolls on. Hot, hot and hotter. How will this be played inside WOFF? We may never know or will we? Also, a much awaited decision on the disqualification of the attorneys from Tomblin, Farmer and Morris is expected any time. The ruling regarding the disqualification will add yet another layer of intrigue to this case- no matter how the judge rules. Return daily, there is so much breaking news in this case and the trial has not even begun!

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Leaving Thought Reform – Spring Thaw and the Resulting Liberty (1)

During the research for my soon to be released book, “Locked in”, I remembered my time within Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and the time shortly after my departure in July 2008. For days on end, the emotions washed over me as I recounted the anxieties, the drama and the choices made during those months. At least part of the struggle was discovering who I really was. It was a “spring thaw” from the many years of my “self” existing frozen in the deep recesses of my soul; put there by the many rules, dictates and practices of WOFF. Those first few months of freedom were full of apprehension, while many times overrun with the questions… what do I do here? How do I? When do I? What if I? I was living free and making choices for the first time in many years.

Through the years since 2008, I learned my struggles were new to me, but not unexpected for one leaving a religious cult or a high-demand group. The feelings and emotions of those days were predictable. There was no one close to me who had traveled the same road and could guide me. In a quest to learn more, I turned to resources- books and online sources. Many a night, I traded sleep for the time to read survivor stories or other resources and/or the freedom to write. Both reading and writing helped sort out the jumbled mess of my life from the years within WOFF.

One of the most valuable resources I found is the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). Their online resources are many. July of 2014, I attended their conference in Washington, DC. The people I met and the sessions I attended, deepened my understanding of the dangers and results of high-demand groups. One of the benefits of membership is receiving the publication, ICSA Today.

ICSA Today Magazine volume 5 number 3 2014 – contains an article titled “Thought Reform and the Psychology of Breaking Away from Totalism”, written by Ron Burks, PhD. This is my resource for this post. I will quote from it in order to explain my struggles and those of others leaving WOFF during these days.
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This Picture Ignites Explosion on Facebook®

January 29, 2014- a survivor of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) posted the picture below and suddenly as if from every corner of time and space comments began flowing into his post. Can you understand why?

get the circles going
get the circles going

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The Short Creek Effect

   Carolyn Jessop with Laura Palmer wrote “Escape” (Copyright©2007 by Visionary Classics, LLC, published by Broadway Books, ISBN 978-0-7679-2756-7). We have reviewed this book previously in a guest post written by Lahna Morakis. Honestly, I have had a copy for a while, but had not picked it up until recently. From the back cover, “ESCAPE provides an astonishing look behind the tightly drawn curtains of the FLDS church (Fundamentalist Church of the Latter Day Saints), one of the most secretive religious groups in the United States. The story Carolyn Jessop tells is so weird and shocking that one hesitates to believe a sect like this, with 10,000 polygamous followers, could really exist in twenty-first-century America. But, Jessop’s courageous, heart-wrenching account is absolutely factual. This riveting book reminds us that truth can indeed be much, much stranger than fiction.”  –Jon Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven, Into Thin Air, and Into the Wild.

   This book follows my other reads on this religious cult. I have read books by Flora Jessop “Church of Lies”, Brent Jeffs, “Lost Boy” and Elisa Walls, “Stolen Innocence”. We have reviewed each of these books as well as made several comparisons to the practices of Warren Jeffs, leader of FLDS and Jane Whaley, leader of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF).

   In “Escape”, Carolyn Jessop begins with her childhood memories in Salt Lake City, Utah. She tells of the influence of her Grandma and how this relationship shaped her outlook. “Listening to my grandmother talk, I felt like I was being rocked in a cradle of specialness. Grandma made me feel unique, but not in a traditional way. She taught me that I had been blessed by God with an opportunity to come into a family where the generations of women had sacrificed their feelings and given up things of this world to preserve the work of God and prove worthy of the celestial kingdom of God.” (page 19) With this book, as with the others, I will compare the memories and observations of the writers about their life in FLDS with my experience in WOFF.

  Continue reading The Short Creek Effect

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