Former church janitor Jose Feliciano has been convicted on all counts in the 2009 murder of Chatham priest Edward Hinds.
The jury came back on Thursday morning in Superior Court, Morristown, and declared Feliciano guilty of murder, felony murder, two counts of robbery, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, unlawful possession of a weapon, and hindering apprehension.
Morris County Prosecutor Robert Bianchi issued this statement:
“I am proud and honored to have been part of a process to vindicate Father Hinds’ murder and the slander of his reputation, which obviously the jury soundly did not believe. I can think of no greater Christmas gift to Father Hinds’ soul, and for those that loved and respected him that this conviction happens at Christmas time.”
The 66-year-old Feliciano, a resident of Easton, Pa., stabbed the Rev. Hinds 44 times inside the rectory of Chatham’s St. Patrick Church on Oct. 22, 2009. The janitor claimed he flew into a rage when the priest fired him, just five months shy of his planned retirement. He testified that he was coerced him to perform sex acts for four years in return for the priest’s silence about prior criminal matters with a juvenile. The prosecution argued that the sex story was fabricated.