Ex-Priest Gets Trial Date in Cold-Case Murder
Edinburg
   
 
More Today's News:
ߦ   Officer Ryan Johnson HPD Funeral
ߦ   Baltimore County police officer killed after confrontation; police searching for four suspects
ߦ   2 off-duty NYPD officers, 1 a groom on wedding day, die in crash
ߦ   Dallas officer wounded in shooting gets police escort after hospital release
ߦ   Formal Charging Document Against Santa Fe Shooter
ߦ   Investigation into Shooting at 10901 Telephone Road
ߦ   Man who killed LEO daughter, daughter-in-law, suffered mental illness
ߦ   Register for Continuing Education Courses
ߦ   School officer who shot school gunman gets ovation at graduation
ߦ   Son Of Santa Fe Victim Was One Of The Officers Who Rushed to The Scene
ߦ   Suspect Arrested, Charged in Crash at 12300 Gulf Freeway
ߦ   Santa Fe Victims
ߦ   Accused Shooter’s Family Speaks
ߦ   Armed suspect at large after robbing San Antonio IHOP
ߦ   FBI Calls For Media to Cease "Hounding" Santa Fe Families and Students
ߦ   To the members in the Santa Fe CPAAA
ߦ   Town Hall Meeting - May 22 - Underage Drinking
ߦ   Windcrest police arrest man accused of killing woman at San Antonio school parking lot
ߦ   Retired Houston Police Officer Wounded In Santa Fe School Shooting
ߦ   Teen shooter ID'd in deadly Santa Fe school shooting
ߦ   A suspected sovereign citizen ended up as the target of a fur missile.
ߦ   A Week Dedicated To Honor Law Enforcement
ߦ   Former Galveston Deputy Sentenced To Prison
ߦ   ‘Killed Them All, of Course’ - Robert Durst
ߦ   7 taken to hospital after Houston police chase ends in crash
ߦ   Autopsies: Ohio officers killed by shots to head, torso
ߦ   BODYCAM: Mayor’s Son Abuses Cop
ߦ   Burnet County Sheriff's Office - Inmate/Arrests Summary
ߦ   Calif. justice reforms questioned after officer's slaying
ߦ   Dogwood Trail Shooting
ߦ   Fundraiser For Deputy Christopher Gaines May 16
ߦ   Houston cop killer Anthony Haynes loses federal appeal over bad lawyering claims
ߦ   Immigration crackdown shifts to employers as audits surge
ߦ   IN MEMORIAM - Arthur Loukas, Houston Police Officer (Ret)
ߦ   Investigation into Fatal Crash at 13500 Hooper Road

   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  
© 1999-2018 The Police News. All rights reserved.