The Premiere Website For Police News In Texas

          



 

Ex-Priest Gets Trial Date in Cold-Case Murder
Edinburg
   
 
More Today's News:
ߦ   Arrests In La Marque Homicide Investigation - Mug Shot
ߦ   Special Operations Preparatory Academy
ߦ   Arrest In Plano Capital Murder Case
ߦ   Arrests Blotter
ߦ   Brothers arrested following Aggravated Robbery - Mug Shots
ߦ   Burnet County Sheriff's Office - Daily Inmate/Arreests Summary
ߦ   Dallas Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison For His Role in a Methamphetamine Distribution Conspiracy
ߦ   Galveston based Coast Guard cutter receives new commander
ߦ   Investigation into a Drug Trafficking Organization Results in Seven Arrests on Federal Drug Conspiracy Charges
ߦ   Is social media helping or harming police work?
ߦ   Kroger customer blames store for injuries
ߦ   Lampasas County Deputy placed on administrative leave after arrest of teen
ߦ   Man arrested for burglarizing a business
ߦ   Man Civilly Committed as a Sexually Violent Predator
ߦ   Man Jailed For Giving A False Report to a Police Officer
ߦ   Mother blames Target for daughter's injuries
ߦ   Neighbor charged with Retaliation
ߦ   Paris Police Dept - Daily Activity/Arrests Summary
ߦ   Plano Police Request Citizen Assistance In Crash Investigation
ߦ   Police consent decrees may reduce civil rights lawsuits, Texas study suggests
ߦ   Police report: Man fatally shoots himself in restroom at Bedford Police Department
ߦ   Recovering Missing Kids
ߦ   School Cop Who Received Oral Sex From A Child Won’t Have To Register As Sex Offender
ߦ   Study: White Dallas officers don't disproportionately use force against minorities
ߦ   Texas lawmakers pass bill making attacks on police, judges a hate crime
ߦ   Two Miami Cops Resign While Getting Sued for Falsely Arresting Military Veteran
ߦ   Woman faces decades in prison for brutal, meth-fueled crash
ߦ   SUBSCRIBE To Texas Police News
ߦ   Police News Links
ߦ   Employment
ߦ   Police News - Calendar of Events
ߦ   DPS Seeks Leads in 1984 Murder of Corpus Christi Girl
ߦ   Galveston man charged with sexually assaulting child under 14
ߦ   Glady Jones retires from Galveston College
ߦ   Gregg County Men Guilty in Federal Drug Conspiracy

   Next >>
 
Search Archives:
ERIK DE LA GARZA
Courthouse News Service
February 17, 2017

EDINBURG, Texas (CN) – An April trial date has been set for the former Catholic priest charged with the 1960 murder of a South Texas beauty queen whose body was found dumped in an irrigation canal after she confessed to him.

A Hidalgo County judge this week scheduled 84-year-old John Feit’s trial for April 24. Feit, who has pleaded not guilty, faces up to 99 years in prison if convicted of killing Irene Garza, a 25-year-old elementary school teacher who was murdered more than 56 years ago.

Feit was flown from his home in Arizona to face murder charges in South Texas a year ago and has remained in the Hidalgo County Jail infirmary since then. The indictment charges the ex-priest with murder by asphyxiation.

Now frail and using a walker in courtroom appearances, Feit was a 27-year-old priest in McAllen when Garza’s half-clothed body was discovered in a canal days after she was last seen going to confession at Sacred Heart Church. He became the prime suspect almost immediately after Garza’s April 16, 1960 slaying stunned the community.

An autopsy determined that the former Miss All South Texas Sweetheart had been beaten, suffocated and raped while unconscious on the day before Easter. Feit has always denied involvement in the crime but acknowledged that a Kodak photographic slide viewer found near Garza’s body belonged to him.

The church later moved Feit into a monastery, according to old press reports on the case, and nobody was ever charged.

The cold case began to heat up in the early 2000s when former Hidalgo County District Attorney Rene Guerra attempted to pursue charges.

A Rio Grande Valley grand jury’s refusal to indict Feit in 2004 sparked a firestorm of criticism, led largely by Garza’s family.

The case was propelled to the national spotlight when a series of news outlets reported on the story, which became a lightning rod in the 2014 race for district attorney. The cold case took center stage in that election, with Garza’s family blaming Guerra for failing to present enough evidence to indict Feit.

Hidalgo County District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez ousted the 32-year incumbent and told supporters he would re-examine the case. After Feit’s arrest last year, Rodriguez announced that “new facts and evidence” were uncovered during the most recent investigation of the case.

A pretrial date is scheduled for April 20.

Feit is represented by Edinburg attorney O. Rene Flores and Ricardo Flores of McAllen.

Post a comment
Name/Nickname:
(required)
Email Address: (must be a valid address)
(will not be published or shared)
Comments: (plain text only)
Printer Friendly Format  Printer Friendly Format    Send to a Friend  Send to a Friend    RSS Feed  RSS Feed
  Facebook   Share link on Twitter Tweet  


© 1999-2017 The Police News. All rights reserved.