Man accused in cult killing chooses trial over plea bargain

man accused in cult killing chooses trial over plea bargain - Man accused in cult killing chooses trial over plea bargain

NEW BRITAIN – One of two men charged with murdering a member of an area cult has rejected a plea deal offered by the state and has decided to take his case to trial.

Rudy Hannon, 72, of Nevada, is charged with murder and murder-commission of a felony in a case involving the 2004 killing and dismembering of Paul Sweetman, a “Chief Apostle” in the 1970s cult started by the late Brother Julius Schacknow.

Hannon rejected the deal in New Britain Superior Court Wednesday. The details of the deal were not available through court records. Hannon’s attorney, J. Patten Brown, and New Britain State’s Attorney Brian Preleski did not immediately return requests for comment.

Hannon is accused of convincing Sorek Minery, that Sweetman, of Southington, was hurting his wife, Joanne, and needed to be killed.

Joanne Sweetman was believed to be the “Holy Spirit” by cult members.

Minery allegedly beat Sweetman, then he and Hannon stuffed his body into a freezer at Minery’s shop in Plainville, the warrant said.

Minery then allegedly dismembered Sweetman’s body with a saw and disposed of the body parts in various places in New Britain.

Minery faces the same charges as Hannon.

One of Sweetman’s legs was found by New Britain police a few months later, but detectives didn’t crack the case until 2016, when a lieutenant in the Criminal Investigations Division noticed that Sweetman had been reported missing around the same time the leg was found.

The investigation led police to find Sweetman’s torso buried under a shed that Minery owned in New Britain.

Hannon remains in custody on $2 million bond.

Minery is due back in court on June 5 and remains in custody, also on $2 million bond.

Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or

Posted in The Bristol Press, General News on Monday, 3 June 2019 21:22. Updated: Monday, 3 June 2019 21:24.

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