Former Priest's Trial Date Set in 57-Year-Old Cold Murder Case of Irene Garza

May 25, 2017

We open with some breaking news out of South Texas concerning an 84-year-old  former priest who was once employed by the Santa Fe Archdiocese after being treated at a New Mexico center for pedophile priests.

This story predates John Feit’s arrival in New Mexico.  In 1960, a 27-year-old Father Feit was the priest at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. On April 16, the Saturday evening before Easter Sunday, Irene Garza—a young schoolteacher in McAllen—went to church to give confession . Her body was found four days later and an autopsy found she had been raped while unconscious. The last person to see Irene Garza alive was Father Feit. 

After Irene Garza’s death, Feit was sent to New Mexico for treatment at Servants at the Paraclete, where he lived for six years. He was eventually promoted to a superior of the order..

Feit left the priesthood to marry in 1971. Last year he was arrested in connection with Garza’s murder. Hidalgo county District Attorney Ricardo Rodriguez brought the indictment against Feit after more than five decades of investigative work by a variety of Texas agencies, including the Texas Rangers.

Courthouse News Service reporter Erik de la Garza — who is no relation to the victim— joins me now live by phone to discuss yesterday’s events at the Hidalgo County Courthouse where Feit’s lawyers argued for a change of venue in the trial.

Irene Garza was murdered in McAllen, Texas on April 16, 1960, the day before Easter Sunday. Former Priest John Feit goes to trial on September 11, 2017.