Man to spend rest of his life in prison for murdering priest

- It was a crime that shook the Valley.

Back in 2014, a Phoenix priest was murdered, and another was severely beaten with an iron rod.

On Friday, the man behind the brutal crime, Gary Michael Moran, learned his fate.

Moran, 57, was homeless and sought help for mental illness the day before he burst into the Mother of Mercy Mission in Phoenix in June of 2014, where he beat Father Joseph Terra with a metal rod, and then grabbed a gun the priests kept at the church, and shot Father Kenneth Walker dead.

Moran then stole a camera and Father Walker's car, which he abandoned a few blocks away from the crime scene. Moran was arrested a few days later.

DNA evidence linked Moran to the crime. According to prosecutors, Moran had medication for his mental health problems, but was using Meth at the time of the crime.

Moran accepted a plea deal that will spare him from death, in lieu of spending the rest of his life in prison. In court Friday, Moran had a chance to apologize, but he said nothing.

Meanwhile, the Diocese of Phoenix released a statement.

The untimely loss of Fr. Walker was heartbreaking, and his humility, quiet and consistent strength, and unfailing faith and devotion to God and the Church have already been dearly missed... We pray for the healing of all victims of violent crimes and for their friends and family who suffer with them, and for the forgiveness and conversion of those who commit such crimes.


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