Former Priest Sentenced to Life in 57-Year-Old Murder Case
EDINBURG – A former priest convicted in a 1960 murder will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The decision, the harshest sentence the jury could give 84-year-old John Feit, was unanimous just after four hours of deliberation.
On Friday, 21,055 days after Irene Garza was last seen alive, the Hidalgo County 92nd District Court was packed.
A jury was about to send a former priest to prison for life.
It took authorities 56 years to arrest Feit and another year to bring him to trial.
The night before the rare burst of snow fell on Deep South Texas, it had taken a jury, in a predominately Catholic region, just six hours to convict the former priest of murder.
It would take another four hours for the few family members Garza has left to hear a foreperson from the jury say, “For a term of life.”
“He received a dispensation from the church and went on to live a life. A life that Irene Garza never had,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael Garza in his closing argument.
The assistant DA was correct. Feit did get a chance to live his life. He got married, moved to Arizona and became a grandfather, but he never escaped his past.
In 2003, KRGV reporter Kristine Galvan tried speaking to Feit outside his Arizona home.
“Mr. Feit? Hi, I’m Kristine Galvan. Did you kill Irene Garza, Mr. Feit?”
He slammed the door on her.
On Friday, after his sentence, Galvan had a small opportunity to try and speak with Feit again in the hallways of the courthouse.
“Mr. Feit, I want to ask you the same question I asked you in 2003,” she said. “Did you kill Irene Garza, Mr. Feit?”
Feit stayed silent walking through the crowd.
“You slammed the door in my face back then. Will you just answer that one simple question?” Galvan persisted.
No answers from the now convicted killer.
As for now for the Garza family, there is finally closure after 21,055 days.