Suspect in New Jersey Priest’s Murder is Hospitalized

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Chatham, NJ – As investigators work tirelessly to get more answers from Jose Feliciano, the suspect was suddenly hospitalized Sunday afternoon. Prosecutors have not yet clarified the cause for hospitalization.

Feliciano, 64, is charged with the murder of Rev. Ed Hinds on Oct. 22nd. Police say Hinds was stabbed by Feliciano more than 30 times with a kitchen knife after the two got into an argument inside the chuch’s recotry. Parishoners say Hinds was a beloved priest who had worked at the St. Patrick’s church in Chatham for many years; they also say Feliciano was well-liked and also a long-time employee.

Feliciano confessed to the murder shortly after investigators found the victim’s cell phone, as well as bloody rags and a knife, in and around Feliciano’s home. He was considered a suspect from the beginning, and was one of the first people said to have found the priest after the incident. Although Feliciano has not yet confessed to the motive, investigators believe the men were in an argument over the suspect’s future employment with the parish. Still, other motives are being investigated at this time.

“Detectives are also pursuing other motives that are being developed from the many witness interviews we are conducting, as well,” police wrote in a news release on Sunday.

Hinds was found dressed in his clerical robes in the rectory kitchen. He sustained wounds to his upper torso, back, and head from a kitchen knife, officials said. There were also signs of defensive wounds on his hands and face. An autopsy determined the cause of death was severe trauma.

Following Feliciano’s hospitalization, investigators released more information about the case, revealing that Rev. Hinds called 9-1-1 during the attack, but was disconnected. Operators attempted to call him back, and say Feliciano answered the phone at one point, telling them there was no emergency.

For many, Feliciano’s supposed actions have come as quite a shock to those who knew him.

“Jose seemed always a very kind, kind man, deeply loved by people in this community, so we have deep shock,” said St. Patrick’s Rev. Owen Moran.

Feliciano’s children are past and present students at the St. Patrick school, adding more fuel to the fire and speculation over the suspect’s motive. Parishoners are having trouble accepting the fact that the well-liked Feliciano could be responsible for such an act.

Feliciano is being held on $1 million bail.

 

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