Chatham, October 24:Jose Feliciano, 64, the longtime church janitor, described "like a second father to all the St. Pat's kids" was arrested at his home on Saturday evening in the fatal stabbing of Rev. Edward Hinds.
The tight-knit community of Chatham was shocked by the gruesome murder of the beloved priest by Feliciano who stabbed him 32 times and left him for dead in the kitchen of the rectory of St. Patrick's Church on Friday October 23.
"It's just not believable," said parishioner Dan Langborgh who lives across the street from the church. "Jose is a very nice guy who has been around for many years. He's the last person I would have suspected."
Investigators tracked Feliciano in Easton, Pennsylvania, through Hinds’ missing cell phone. Feliciano confessed that he killed the pastor after an argument "over Feliciano's continued employment," on Thursday evening and then went home.
Feliciano admitted beating up the priest and then using a knife from the rectory to inflict “multiple stab wounds that ultimately led to the unfortunate demise of the pastor."
The janitor confessed that after the heinous crime he cleaned up the blood with rags and paper towels. He then hid the knife, blood stained clothes and the priest's cell phone in a black bag and took all the stuff with him when he went home with his wife and daughter after the stabbing.
Feliciano destroyed Hinds' cell phone and threw the weapon in a trash can in a nearby field from where it was retrieved by the police.
He returned on Friday morning to the rectory and made an half hearted attempt to revive the pastor while acting shocked that he was dead.
Scene of the crime
The body of the Rev was discovered by a Feliciano and a handyman after he failed to show up for the morning Mass. Feliciano was performing CPR on the body when officers arrived on the scene of the crime.
According to Bianchi, Feliciano "made a half-hearted attempt to do CPR in front of police. They said it was bizarre. He made about two or three compressions and said something like, 'he’s dead’.”
The pastor was dressed in black clerical robes when the police arrived at the scene of crime. His entire body was slashed with stab wounds on his upper torso, the back of his body and his head.
Hinds had defensive wounds on his hands and bruises on his face. The autopsy determined the cause of death as severe trauma.
Rev. Paul Manning from the Archdiocese of Paterson, New Jersey stated, "When you're the sole pastor and you do most of the baptisms and weddings and funerals, people end up loving you. This will be a big loss for the parish and a big loss for the diocese."