Tag Archives: Matthew Fenner

Friday: Fenner Hearing in Rutherford County (video)

Before the hearing…
“The door is locked.” The crowd standing upstairs in the Rutherford County courthouse included the defendant, Brooke Covington, Kent Covington, Karel Reynolds with Jayne Caulder- who floated in and out of the area. Yes, add to this Word of Fellowship (WOFF) contingency; Matthew Fenner, a few of his family members, supporters and news media. (I was not ready to throw up the red awkward flag, but it was close.) After a few social charged moments mediated by a few laughs, a county official opened the door and we all cautiously entered the courtroom making sure not to touch or encounter any members of the other side.

Once inside the process of choosing your seat began. Strategy and some personal preference led me to sit three rows from the front on the right side with members of Matthew’s family. Before I landed there, I noticed Karel taking out her pen and pad dividing her page into sections as if she were taking attendance and notes for a report to her teacher. Realizing the note taking would be critical, I also began my efforts.

Already in the bar area was District Attorney Ted Bell with his Assistant, David Norris. Over the next few minutes, court employees filtered in and out as preparations were made for the long waited hearing. The highly anticipated Motion for a Change of Venue would be argued along with possible discussion on several other motions. I noticed the clock moving past 2:00PM and felt concerned until Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers enter with defense attorney David Teddy not far behind. Both looked stern as they took their places. Previously, Teddy had invited Brooke to the defense table so; the show was ready to begin.

Calling out the introduction, All rise…. The bailiff announced the Honorable Judge Gary Gavenus was set to preside- this court will now come to order! Be seated.

Continue reading Friday: Fenner Hearing in Rutherford County (video)

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Fenner Case: Next Hearing May 19th- 2:00PM

The next chapter in the Matthew Fenner case is scheduled for Friday, May 19th at 2:00PM. Rccatalyst.com reported on May 9th an additional motion placed on the agenda for the hearing. A Motion of Discovery filed by ADA Garland Byers seeks the preview of all documents, photographs, video recordings which Brooke Covington’s defense attorney David Teddy plans to use during trial. The State also requests to learn if Teddy plans to use insanity, self-defense, voluntary or involuntary intoxication as her defense along with the reuqest for a list of any expert witnesses. A copy of the Motion is found in the article at Rccatalyst.com.

The list of Motions include:
– Defendant’s Motion for Change of Venue,
– Defendant’s Motion for a Bill of Particulars ( opposed by the State in Rccatalyst.com-here)
– State’s Motion for Joinder of Offenses for Trial
– State’s Motion in the Alternative to a venue change s Special Venire (jury pool),
– Motion for Discovery

One more motion by the State filed March 22nd- Motion for Jury View & Testimony During Jury View was discussed in a previous hearing, but not listed in the Rccatlyst.com coverage.

The Motion for Change of Venue will determine the future of this case when and where it will be held. The outcome of the Change of Venire will tell us from which county the jury pool will originate, if different from Rutherford County. The Motion for Jury View if approved will allow the jury to visit Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) and have Matthew describe in sworn testimony the events that unfolded the fateful night of January 27, 2013. My friends, we are not surprised that Jane Whaley is fighting this Motion with her own attorney, John W. Gresham. She is putting her foot down, her hand held up high and her shrill cry peeling the paint off the walls in warring prayer to squash any effort to cast her beloved sanctuary as a potential crime scene.
Continue reading Fenner Case: Next Hearing May 19th- 2:00PM

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WCNC 36- “The Defenders”- and My Response to WOFF Hostage Videos

(updated 5/6/17 10:32AM)
Friday evening, WCNC Channel 36 out of Charlotte ran a news piece briefly reviewing the controversy surrounding Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). The segment titled, “The Defenders”. The reporter, Mark Boyle, labeled this piece as “balanced” in that he gave WOFF a platform for their rebuttal to charges being leveled against them. The video recaps the criminal charges against Brooke Covington in the Matthew Fenner case and also includes video of Benjamin Cooper, audio of Jane Whaley, video of my family and one comment from me. The video is just over four minutes ending with the reporter saying they reached out to the leader of the church and she did not offer a comment except to call the allegations “gossip and lies.”.

Some of the material for this piece was gathered a few months back. The audio of Jane during Benjamin’s attempt to tell her that he and his wife were leaving WOFF is one of the most revealing and intense components. My ex-wife, Martha, is shown giving her take on my exit while I am shown calling that period of my life a “train wreck.” For those who have read my book, “Locked in”, you understand the reference.

For a few weeks, I have been pondering my response to the WOFF hostage videos which include my children. The pressures for everyone, not just my family, to rewrite their personal history in order to fit the now narrative is revealing and sad. I get it as I lived there and know that pressure. The comments made by my ex-wife are WOFF-revealing and in fact expose the very dynamics which in other places are denied vehemently. It would be confusing, if it were not so obvious to former members who survived the ever-changing Jane-centered conundrum filled “logic.”

This seems to be the right time to refocus on important issues – Sarah and Michael. Yes, I have concern for all behind the invisible WOFF-walls of fear and intimidation. Several have chosen their personal freedom recently, a trend which I hope continues and increases. The following is my answer to the damage control efforts put out by WOFF.

The Love in My Heart… Answer to my children
(please, continue reading)
Continue reading WCNC 36- “The Defenders”- and My Response to WOFF Hostage Videos

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Fenner Case Update: Brooke Covington in Court

Monday morning, Brooke Covington made an appearance in Rutherford County court alongside her attorney David Teddy. Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers scheduled the meeting for a judge to rule on five pending motions in the Matthew Fenner assault case. This case stems from charges involving an incident on January 27, 2013 in the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF).

Brooke Covington is one of five individuals indicted with charges against them ranging from second degree kidnapping, assault and attempting to inflict injury by strangulation. Adam Bartley, Robert Lewis Walker, Jr., Justin Covington and Sarah Anderson are the others who were indicted. The case has been delayed beyond reasoning with pre-trial motions, rulings, and disqualification of the original WOFF attorneys attempting to represent all five defendants. The disqualification was appealed to the NC Court of Appeals and later withdrawn after one of the petitioners in the appeal, Sarah Anderson, left WOFF and requested new representation.

During Monday’s session, five motions were slated for review.
1. The Defendant’s Motion for Change of Venue;
2. The Defendant]s Motion for a Bill of Particulars;
3. The State’s Motion for Jury View & Testimony During Jury View;
4. The State’s Motion for Joinder of Offenses for Trial; and
5. The State’s Motion for the Alternative for a Special Venire.

The State’s Motion for Jury View required a notice sent to Joshua Farmer as he is known as the “general counsel’ for WOFF. However, attorney John W. Gresham was hired to represent WOFF in opposition to the motion. He has represented Jane Whaley in years past and it came as no surprise he was brought in for this hearing.

As ADA Byers gave the judge a recap of the case, he explained that Judge Thomas Davis has recused himself from the proceedings. Byers has originally scheduled the hearing for May 22nd, but rescheduled for April 24th upon learning that Judge Gary Gavenus was not available in May. Attorney Teddy used the rescheduling as a reason to request for further delay stating he was not prepared to argue the Change of Venue with all the recent publicity about WOFF.

At several points, Gresham attempted to interject his views that the Motion for Jury View was unconstitutional and that he was prepared to provide large photographs of the scene. Finally, Judge Gavenus rebuffed Gresham and told him not to worry about the Motion to View at this time.
Continue reading Fenner Case Update: Brooke Covington in Court

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Will Word of Faith Fellowship Survive? (video)

This morning as the birds are singing announcing the beginning of what promises to be a day packed with new information and drama, I sit amazed at the next AP Investigative release. Ex-Sect Members tell AP: Prosecutors obstructed abuse cases.

Reading the text reveals the secrets and definitive patterns which others on the outside have only speculated about for years. In video below, watch Danielle Cordez describe the treatment of Matthew Fenner! She says, “I honestly don’t know how he survived, I thought he was the first person they were going to kill.”

And with that video, the drama goes to a whole new level. Up until this point, Word of Faith Fellowship members have been doing damage control be sending out text messages telling relatives the accusations are all lies and that WOFF has “proof – videos and testimonies which we will probably be posting soon.”

WOFF denies abuse of any kind. And Jim Jones was a sweet harmless man.

From this morning’s release:

“Frank Webster and Chris Back — church ministers who handle criminal cases as assistant DAs for three nearby counties — provided legal advice, helped at strategy sessions and participated in a mock trial for four congregants charged with harassing a former member, according to former congregants interviewed as part of an AP investigation of Word of Faith.
Continue reading Will Word of Faith Fellowship Survive? (video)

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Fenner Hearing Reveals Queen(s) for the Day…..

Updated: December 9, 2016 10:31 AM
The Hearing held December 8th in the Fenner case answered some questions and left many still unanswered. By the time I entered Courtroom #2, the discussions of the State’s request for the Honorable Judge Marvin Pope to hear all cases related to the indictments were well under way. The Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF) crowd was seated in the back right of the room close to the main entry door. This was not the normal front left position as in previous sessions. The media and others not affiliated with WOFF were sitting on the left side. Of course, I found a seat up about middle left.

Today was yet another small chapter in the ongoing saga of the Matthew Fenner case. Events from January 27, 2013 are in question. Five present and former WOFF members were formally indicted in January 2015. The indictments against Brooke Covington, Justin Covington and Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. who are still members and Adam Bartley and Sarah Anderson, former members; include second degree kidnapping, first degree assault and one count of inflicting injury by attempted strangulation. After initially attempting to represent all five defendants, WOFF attorneys Joshua Farmer, Mark Morris and all their associates were disqualified by Judge Pope in August 2015.

As a result, all five defendants have separate counsel. Brooke Covington is represented by David Teddy. Justin Covington is represented by Krinn Evans. Robert Lewis Walker, Jr. is represented by Matthew Cabe. Sarah Covington is represented by the Cooper Firm. Adam Bartley is represented by Robert Denton who also represents Nicholas Anderson in his civil case for divorce and custody against Sarah. All five defendants and their counsel were present today.

Now, back to the hearing….
Continue reading Fenner Hearing Reveals Queen(s) for the Day…..

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Hearing Set in Matthew Fenner Case –Dec. 8th

Judges chair
Judges chair

Several events have colored this year with surprise and even shock. Unfortunately, the conclusion of the Matthew Fenner case has not been one of them. We roll our hopes forward to 2017. The next step in the process will be this Thursday, December 8th.

Rccatalyst.com recently reported the notice filed by Assistant District Attorney Garland Byers requesting four of the five defendants to appear and address pre-trial motions. Adam Bartley’s attorney, Robert Denton will not be available for the hearing and was not listed in the announcement.

This case stems from events of January 27, 2013 inside the sanctuary of Word of Faith Fellowship (WOFF). Matthew alleges during a session of blasting deliverance prayer he was held against his will and assaulted including an attempt to strangle him. This form of prayer has been a controversial signature practice of WOFF since its inception over thirty years ago.
Continue reading Hearing Set in Matthew Fenner Case –Dec. 8th

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