Former Texas Priest Going to Trial for 1960 Beauty Queen Murder
84-year-old John Feit will finally be going to trial for a the murder of a south Texas beauty queen, almost a full six decades after he was initially a suspect.
25-year-old Irene Garza, a former Miss South Texas and a 2nd grade teacher, was last seen during Holy Week at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, TX on April 16, 1960, where Feit was believed to have heard her confession as a visiting priest. Garza's body was found less than a week later in a nearby canal, and a post-mortem examination confirmed that Garza has subdued, raped while unconscious, and smothered to death.
Feit was a person of interest in the case, having been accused of assaulting another woman in the area a few weeks prior and pleading no contest. Though Feit was never officially indicted in Garza's death, cold-case investigations in 2002 uncovered new evidence, in which a local priest confirmed having seen scratches on Feit's hands after Garza went missing, and claiming that Feit had actually confessed to the murder.
As reported by AOL, Feit was ordered to leave McAllen by Church superiors not long after Garza's body was found. Shortly thereafter, Feit left the priesthood and moved to Arizona, starting a family there. Charges were ultimately filed in 2016, and Feit was taken into custody by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Department.
Feit adamantly denies the charges, and his lawyers have unsuccessfully filed to have the trial moved from south Texas, saying Feit cannot get a fair trial with a jury that will be biased against him after 57 years of media reports on the crime.