Transient Arrested in Priest Murder Case

Gary Moran, 54, is charged with killing one priest, beating another

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 16, 2014 5:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – Police have arrested a man in the Phoenix priest-murder case after he apparently bragged about beating and robbing a priest, the Arizona Republic reports. Police booked Gary Moran, 54, last night, for allegedly gunning down Father Kenneth Walker, 28, and assaulting Father Joseph Terra, court records say. Moran is a transient with a criminal record who was identified by two people—one who heard him bragging about the crime, and another who received from him a camera belonging to one of the victims.

Police say Moran broke into the Mother of Mercy Mission Catholic Church on Wednesday and badly beat Terra with an angle iron (DNA from the crime scene matches Moran's, KPHO reports). Terra retrieved a gun kept by his bed but couldn't shoot because his finger was hurt in the fight; Moran then demanded money at gunpoint, and Terra says he passed out. All he remembers is waking up and administering last rites to Walker. Members of the mission attended a Sunday mass to mourn Walker and honor Terra, who is expected to make a full recovery, the Arizona Republic reports. "What they did was they loved, and they wanted to share beauty with the world," said a member of the mission. "That's why they were doing what they did, and they didn't want to turn anyone away."

Gary Moran is seen in this June 16, 2014 booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office.
Gary Moran is seen in this June 16, 2014 booking photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office.   (AP Photo/Maricopa Country Sheriffs Office)
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