After seven hours of deliberation, jurors in the South Texas murder trial of a former Catholic priest reached a verdict. John Feit was found guilty of killing a 25-year-old beauty queen in 1960.
Feit stood emotionless as the judge read the jury’s guilty verdict.
Family members of the late Irene Garza hugged and embraced each other, celebrating the state’s win.
Noemi Sigler, Garza’s cousin, couldn’t contain her emotions as she walked out of the court room. It’s a verdict she and her other cousin Lynda De La Vina have fought for since Garza’s death in 1960.
Jurors began deliberations after they heard the state and the defense’s closing arguments on Thursday morning.
Feit had long been suspected of Garza’s murder after she went missing the night before Easter Sunday in 1960.
Police found her body floating in a canal not far from the church she attended for confession.
Experts concluded that Garza had been killed by asphyxiation.
Feit left the priesthood about decade after the murder. He would later marry and have a family in Arizona.
It wasn’t until a new district attorney in Hidalgo County took office in 2014 that the case was brought again to a new grand jury and Feit was arrested and extradited to Texas.