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Ex-priest took confession, then murdered Texas beauty queen: prosecutors

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A former Roman Catholic priest took the confession of a Texas beauty queen, then lured her to a church rectory and killed her, prosecutors said on Thursday to start a trial for a 1960 murder that has been one of state’s most notorious cold cases.

In opening statements at a state court in the border county of Hidalgo, prosecutors said John Feit, 84, charged with the murder 57 years ago of Irene Garza, then 25, engaged in “betrayal, murder and cover-up,” local media reports from the courtroom said.

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Feit, who used a walker when he entered court, has denied the charges and his lawyers urged the jury to believe facts about the case and not stories.

“There wasn’t enough evidence then, and there isn’t enough evidence now,” defense attorney O. Rene Flores was quoted as saying by the McAllen Monitor newspaper.

Garza, a former Miss South Texas and second-grade school teacher, was a devout Catholic who often went to confession, prosecutors told the court, the reports said.

After the April 1960 attack, Feit returned to the church and continued to hear confessions, prosecutors said.

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Garza’s body was found five days later in a nearby canal. An autopsy showed that she had been raped while comatose and died of suffocation, according to the Texas Rangers, a statewide police agency.

Robert Ammons, a prominent trial lawyer who is not involved in this case, said prosecutors would face major challenges.

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“Many of the relevant witnesses who would have information are either dead or their memories have faded with time, and that will allow the defense to challenge their testimony,” he said.

Feit had initially been considered by authorities a suspect but was not indicted. He had been implicated in the assault of another woman a few weeks before Garza’s disappearance, but pleaded no contest and served no jail time.

Shortly after Garza’s body was found, Feit was ordered by his church superiors to leave the South Texas city of McAllen, the Dallas Morning News reported.

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Feit later left the priesthood, moved to Arizona and started a family.

Texas Rangers investigating cold cases reported in 2002 a local priest had told them, shortly after Garza’s body was found, that he had seen scratches on the hands of Feit, who was a visiting priest at the time.

Father Joseph O’Brien, also told investigators Feit had confessed to the murder, police said. Feit has denied that.

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(Additional reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Ex-Tea Party lawmaker perfectly nails why Trump is going down in 2020

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On Saturday, former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) tweeted the simple reason he believes President Donald Trump will lose his bid for re-election in 2020:

Trump will lose in 2020 because the vast majority of America is tired of him. Tired of his bullshit. Tired of his drama. Just plain tired of him.

— Joe Walsh (@WalshFreedom) August 17, 2019

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Illinois woman out of a job after calling for a return to slavery in this incredibly racist video

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According to a report from the Riverfront Times, an Illinois woman seen in a video using ugly racial slurs and calling for a return to slavery is now out of a job over her comments.

The reports states that the two women seen in the video, identified as Macy Castleman and Jayde Landers, claim it was recorded it three years ago but it just came to light again after Gabbi Goldsborough posted it to Facebook with the warning: "I love how people sit around & act like racism isn’t still a thing. macy castleman and jayde landers u have a lot of explaining to do."

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Epstein hired multiple lawyers to meet with him to avoid being kept in cell before his death: report

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On Saturday, The New York Times published an account of the final days of high-powered wealth manager Jeffrey Epstein, who was found dead of apparent suicide in New York's Metropolitan Correctional Center while facing trial for child sex trafficking.

One of the key new revelations from the report is that Epstein despised his cell, which was "cramped, dank and infested with vermin" — so he used his vast wealth to exploit a legal loophole in the prison system that would let him spend most of his time outside of it: hire a bunch of lawyers to come and talk to him for hours and hours so he could get a private room to himself.

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