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Homeless Man Gets Life In Prison For Priest Murder

By Stina Sieg
Published: Friday, April 7, 2017 - 5:52pm
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Three years ago, a priest was shot to death and another clergyman was badly beaten at a Catholic church in Phoenix. On Friday, homeless man was sentenced to life in prison for the crimes.

Gary Michael Moran avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty earlier this year in the death of the Rev. Kenneth Walker and the beating of the Rev. Joseph Terra at the Mother of Mercy Mission. Authorities say Moran went to the church to steal what he could find. They say he beat Terra with a metal rod after the priest discovered him, and after a struggle shot Walker with Walker’s own gun.

Moran was arrested four days later, after police said his DNA matched forensic evidence collected from the scene.

In 2001, Moran was sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to misconduct involving weapons. In 1989, he also was convicted in two burglaries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.