Punishment testimony begins in ex-priest’s murder trail

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EDINBURG, Texas – A former priest, convicted of murdering a female parishioner more than 57 years ago, now faces testimony on what punishment he should receive.

A South Texas jury is hearing that testimony Friday, a day after finding 85-year-old John Bernard Feit (FYTE) guilty of murder in the April 1960 strangulation death of schoolteacher Irene Garza, a 25-year-old former beauty queen.

Feit was a 28-year-old priest at a McAllen, Texas, Catholic church at the time of Garza's death. Evidence indicates that South Texas authorities tried to look away from suspicions about the priest in 1960 to protect the church. Years of pressure by Garza's family finally prompted a newly elected district attorney to reopen the case.

The Hidalgo County jury that convicted Feit can now sentence him to up to life imprisonment.

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