Prosecutor says ‘deluge’ of evidence will show Chatham priest’s killing was calculated

| October 22, 2011

CHATHAM — “A deluge of physical evidence” will prove that the 2009 slaying of a Chatham priest was “a very calculated homicide,” the prosecutor said today as the murder trial of Jose Feliciano began.

Feliciano, now 66, stabbed the Rev. Edward Hinds 32 times in the rectory of St. Patrick Church because Hinds had just fired Feliciano, and the firing occurred just four months before Feliciano would have retired with benefits, said Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi.

Bianchi offered those details in a two-and-a-half-hour opening statement to the jury this morning.

Feliciano’s public defender, Neill Hamilton, will present his opening statement this afternoon.

Bianchi said Hinds and other church officials had been considering firing Feliciano for several years because of his “inadequate” job performance.

The church was often left dirty and others had to finish Feliciano’s work, but Feliciano, who had worked at the church for 18 years “was great with the parents and the kids and had the capacity to make people feel sorry for him,” Bianchi said.

However, Hinds decided to fire Feliciano in 2009 when the Diocese of Paterson was conducting an audit to ensure that employees and volunteers who had contact with children had been fingerprinted and undergone criminal background checks. Feliciano had done neither, Bianchi said.

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Category: Church Security

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