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Franciscan trainee charged with killing priest

A 37 year old man studying to become a Franciscan brother in the US was charged on Monday with shooting a Catholic priest and then lighting a fire in the presbytery to try to cover up the killing.

Police in Cleveland, Ohio, charged Daniel Montgomery, 37, with arson and murder in connection with Saturday's murder of 68 year old Fr William Gulas, from the city's predominantly Polish-American parish of St Stanislaus.

Cleveland Councilman Edward Rybka, a parishioner at St. Stanislaus, told reporters Montgomery may have been angry about a poor review of his formation. Montgomery was going through a review period to become a permanent brother in the Franciscan order, Rybka said.

Police did not provide a motive.

Authorities originally believed that Gulas burned to death in the presbytery fire, but an autopsy revealed that the priest died of a gunshot wound to the chest and also had been struck in the head with a blunt instrument. The fire appeared to have been lit to conceal the murder.

Grieving parishioners reported that Montgomery was at the church over the weekend trying to comfort them at their loss.


Seminarian Arrested in Ohio Priest Death (AP)
St Stanislaus Catholic Church | Death of Fr William Gulas

11 Dec 2002