Defense in alleged Chatham priest-killer’s case begins as fellow ex-custodian is called to testify

| November 15, 2011

CHATHAM BOROUGH — Trying to present accused killer Jose Feliciano in a sympathetic light, the defense called as a witness today a fellow ex-custodian at St. Patrick Church in Chatham who described himself as a friend of Feliciano.

Feliciano is on trial in Superior Court in Morristown on a murder charge in the Oct. 22, 2009 stabbing death of the Rev. Edward Hinds.

John Bongo, the former custodian who was fired a year before the killing, said Hinds told him: "I hate to do this, but because of budget cuts and the financial situation at the parish, we have to lay you off.’’

Bongo said Hinds gave no other reason for the firing.

Bongo appeared to contradict the church’s business administrator, who testified last week that church officials thought both Bongo and Feliciano had been leaving the church dirty for many years and wanted to get rid of both of them.

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Category: Church Security

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