Jury Weighs Murder or Manslaughter in NJ Priest Death

Lawyers for Jose Feliciano says the 2009 stabbing happened in a fit of rage

Tuesday, Dec 20, 2011  |  Updated 8:29 AM EDT
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Jury Weighs Murder or Manslaughter in NJ Priest Death

Rev. Edward Hinds was found dead in the rectory of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in 2009.

Jurors at the trial of a janitor accused of killing a New Jersey priest are expected to begin weighing whether he's guilty of murder or manslaughter.

Jose Feliciano doesn't deny stabbing the Rev. Edward Hinds to death in the rectory of St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church in Chatham in 2009.

But the Easton, Pa., resident's lawyer told jurors during closing arguments on Monday that Feliciano was being sexually blackmailed by Hinds and killed in a fit of rage.

The prosecution says the janitor "slaughtered" the priest after Hinds fired him because the priest had discovered Feliciano had an outstanding arrest warrant in Philadelphia from the 1980s for sexually touching a child.

Feliciano testified during the trial.
 
Several witnesses testified Feliciano never mentioned the alleged sexual relationship.

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