Trial begins for man accused of killing priest

MORRISTOWN - Opening arguments were given today in the murder trial of the man accused of killing a priest two years ago in Chatham.

Jose Feliciano was a janitor at the church and claims he killed Rev. Edward Hinds because Hinds threatened to fire him if he ended their relationship.

Prosecutors say Feliciano killed the priest because Hinds found out that Feliciano had been charged in 1988 with sexually touching a child and was about to fire him.

Today, the prosecution and defense outlined their cases for the jury and provided what they say was the motive in a killing Feliciano confessed to. Defense Attorney Neill Hamilton argued that his client was guilty of the lesser charge of passion-provocation manslaughter.

A Chatham police officer was the only witness called to the stand today. He testified that when Feliciano arrived at the crime scene the next day, Feliciano performed CPR on Hinds in an attempt to revive the priest who was clearly dead. The case resumes Monday with more witness testimony.

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