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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.

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.

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

“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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Trump supporters believe these 10 utterly fake ‘facts’ about impeachment

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As President Donald Trump's impeachment seems to be all but a forgone conclusion in the House of Representatives, the Republican Party is still desperately spinning the damning facts of the case.

At every opportunity, they lie, distract, and distort the record in a brazen attempt to cover up for Trump's misconduct in the Ukraine scandal. Unfortunately, because a major section of the news media is organized in order to promote a right-wing agenda, millions of Americans have been deluged with lies about impeachment and never offered any substantial corrective.

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Blue Dog Democrat abandoned by staff after switching to GOP to defend Trump during impeachment: report

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Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey was blasted after word leaked that the New Jersey Democrat would switch to the Republican Party after receiving polling showing he would lose a Democratic primary if he voted against impeaching President Donald Trump.

"Five senior aides to Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey resigned on Sunday as the lawmaker formally prepared to switch parties, stating they were “deeply saddened and disappointed by his decision," Politico reported Sunday.

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Chuck Schumer wants John Bolton and Mick Mulvaney to testify at Trump’s Senate impeachment trial

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants top administration officials to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the United States Senate.

The House of Representatives is expected to pass articles of impeachment on Wednesday, setting up a Senate trial in the new year.

"In a letter sent on Sunday evening to McConnell, the majority leader, Schumer says Senate Democrats want to hear testimony from four administration witnesses, including acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton," Politico reported. "There is almost no chance Senate Republicans would vote to subpoena those witnesses without assent from the White House and calling their own preferred witnesses."

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