WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 15, 2010, 02:54 PM

Mother of daughter killed inside Wheaton church supports pastor

Wheaton, Minn. (WDAY TV) - In the second of our three part series, the mother whose daughter was killed inside a Wheaton church, is speaking out. Sherry Hankins was a loyal follower of Thy Kingdom Come Church, which helped recovering addicts, but since her daughter's tragic death, she's been trying to cope. KSAX Reporter Anthony Kiekow (KEY-COH) has our story.

By: Anthony Kiekow, KSAX

“I wish it could be different. I so wish it could be different."

The pain of her daughter's death spills down the face of Sherry Hankins as she recalls seeing little Aundrea get hit in the head with a baseball bat. Former Thy Kingdom Come church member David Collins is accused of striking Andrea with a bat during a fight at the church last summer. The same church Danny Barnes organized and led.

Barnes, who sits in Stillwater prison for an unrelated incident says many in the community hold him responsible. However, Andrea’s mother places no blame on Barnes.

"David Collins killed my baby, so I don't see how Danny Barnes could be blamed."

In fact Sherry credits Barnes with helping her repair her life after struggling with drugs.

"To live in a house like I do, he helped me get back."

But with Barnes in jail she tells us former members of his church, including herself two weeks ago, have turned back to drugs.

"I was in the kitchen and tied a belt around my arm and nobody wants to do that."

Barnes isn't surprised to hear some of his former followers are using drugs again.

"For me to be gone means they can act out on those things. I'm the mirror saying that's wrong."

But Barnes is behind bars because he does more than just say that's wrong. So if he weren't in jail might Barnes have been able to keep sherry from using drugs again?

"I don't even want to say he might of. He would have."

Because he won't be there Barnes says former church members should look elsewhere for guidance.

"You don't have to follow Danny Barnes to get back on track."