EDINBURG, Texas- A jury on Friday convicted an 85 -year-old former clergyman to life in prison for the 1960 killings of a schoolteacher and former miss universe who was a member of the parish he served.
The same jurors in Hidalgo County in South Texas ascertained John Bernard Feit guilty of carnage Thursday evening. Lawyers questioned jurors Friday for a 57 -year prison setting — one year for each year he had strolled free since killing Irene Garza after she went to him for confession at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, Texas.
The 25 -year-old Garza disappeared April 16, 1960. Her coerced organization was noticed weeks later. An autopsy disclosed she had been abused while subconscious, and outstrips and suffocated.
Prosecutor Michael Garza, who is not related to the victim, had asked the jury not to consider the now elderly and weakened Feit as he is today, but to try to thought him as a 28 -year-old man capable of quashing the woman.
The jury deliberated just over four hours Friday before deciding on the maximum convict. Afterward, Garza supposed at a news conference that he wished that he could take credit for the conviction and sentence, “but it was God-driven.”
“I can say this: Swine are moving, and Irene is resting, ” he said.
Feit, then a priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, developed under suspicion in the investigation early on. He told police that he heard Garza’s confession in the church rectory rather than in the confessional, but repudiated he had killed her.
Among the evidence that pointed to Feit as a suspect over its first year: Two priests told dominions that Feit had acknowledged to them. One of them said he saw scratches on Feit soon after Garza’s disappearance. His portable photographic slide viewer was experienced near Garza’s body.
Feit had also been accused of assaulting another young lady in a religion in a nearby municipality precisely weeks before Garza’s death. He pleaded no race and was fined $500.
Prosecutors presented ground earlier in the week that religion and elected officials supposed Feit but didn’t want to prosecute him. They feared it was able to harm the reputations of the church and Hidalgo County elected official, most of whom were Catholic. Sen. John F. Kennedy, a Catholic, was loping for chairwoman that year.
Feit was sent to a treatment center for perturbed priests in New Mexico, afterwards becoming a bos with responsibility in the clearing of priests for parish assignings. Among the three men Feit facilitated keep in ministry was child molester James Porter, who assaulted more than 100 victims before he was defrocked and to be presented to prison.
Feit left the priesthood in 1972, wedded and went on to work at the Catholic charity St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix, training courses and recruiting volunteers and facilitating oversee the charity’s system of nutrient pantries.
Garza’s family members and acquaintances have all along been pushed authorities to reopen the action, and it became an issue in the 2014 district attorney’s hasten. Ricardo Rodriguez had predicted that if elected, he would re-examine the case.
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