House of Prayer members hire lawyer

Atlanta Journal-Constitution/October 25, 2002
By Jill Young Miller

The Rev. Arthur Allen Jr., pastor of the House of Prayer, has hired prominent Atlanta lawyer Ed Garland to represent him and four other church members convicted last week of cruelty to children.

The five -- who had rejected legal counsel before trial -- returned to court Thursday, asking to stay out of jail while they pursue a new trial, said lawyer Manny Arora, an associate of Garland's who is working on the case.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge T. Jackson Bedford denied their request for bond. Allen and three of the others convicted are to report to the Fulton County jail Friday.

Arora said he expects to file a motion for a new trial within days. "It's basically to get their names cleared because they disagree with the verdict," he said.

Garland could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon. Allen declined to comment.

During the trial, the House of Prayer members represented themselves, despite Bedford's pleas to them in pretrial hearings that they hire legal counsel.

Bedford sentenced Allen and the other defendants Oct. 17. He gave them one week to get their affairs in order before they were to report to jail today for brutally whipping two boys, then 7 and 10, at the northwest Atlanta church in February 2001.

Allen, 70, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of probation.

Bedford sentenced Charles Ogletree, 30, and Emanuel Hardeman, 37, to 75 days in jail and 10 years of probation each.

The judge sentenced David Duncan Sr., 45, to 40 days in jail and eight years of probation. When Duncan's jail time is over, his wife, Sharon, 41, is to report for a 20-day jail sentence.

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