Ex-Priest to Spend Life in Prison for Murder of Border City Teacher

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

MCALLEN, Texas — A South Texas jury sentenced a former Catholic priest to life in prison for the murder of a local school teacher and former beauty queen in 1960 when he was assigned to a local church. For more than 55 years, the priest managed to avoid facing any consequences in connection with the murder.

This week, 85-year-old John Feit was convicted in of murder following a week-long trial. Just one day after the conviction, jurors in Hidalgo County chose to sentence him to a term of life in prison for murdering Irene Garza.

A local school teacher and a former beauty queen, Garza had gone to confession at a local church in the border city of McAllen during Holy Week in 1960, but was assaulted and murdered, Breitbart Texas reported. At around the time of the murder, Feit tried to sexually assault another woman and eventually pleaded guilty to assault and paid a $500 fine.

During the trial, testimony pointed to a deal between the district attorney in 1960 and members of the Catholic Church. As part of the agreement, Feit was expected to plead guilty to the assault and authorities would not investigate him in connection with the murder. Part of the deal relied on church officials sending Feit away. Feit lived with impunity for 55 years, eventually leaving the church, and moving to Arizona. Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez took up the cold case soon after taking office. He had Feit arrested in February 2016. Rodriguez extradited him from Arizona to Hidalgo County where police held him in custody until his trial and eventual conviction.

Ildefonso Ortiz is an award-winning journalist with Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Brandon Darby and Stephen K. Bannon.  You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Brandon Darby is managing director and editor-in-chief of Breitbart Texas. He co-founded the Cartel Chronicles project with Ildefonso Ortiz and Stephen K. Bannon. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can be contacted at bdarby@breitbart.com.


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