Feliciano Admits Lying to Prosecutor's Captain
The custodian said things didn't "exactly" happen the way he said in his sworn confession.
UPDATED: Jose Feliciano admitted in court Wednesday that he lied to Capt. Jeffrey Paul in a statement given under oath on Oct. 24, 2009.
The statement was made while Feliciano was admitted to Morristown Memorial Hospital two days after he killed the Rev. Edward Hinds, the pastor at St. Patrick Church in Chatham Borough. In the statement, Feliciano said he trid to end a four-year relationship between the two men and killed Hinds when the priest threatened to fire him.
"That's not accurate based on what you told this jury, is it?" Bianchi asked.
"Not exactly like that," Feliciano said
Under direct examination Monday, Feliciano said he understood Hinds was making him leave because of criminal charges in his past. He said Hinds knew about the charges since he confessed the details of the "problems" to him several years before around the time he first was fingerprinted for his job in January of 2004.
According to Feliciano's testimony under direct examination Monday, Hinds called him a child as he was pleading for his job, which made Feliciano furious. He grabbed a knife on the table, and when Hinds grabbed his hand, Feliciano slipped away and walked out "just to get away," he said.
Feliciano told Paul he took the knife from the parish center. In court under cross examination Wednesday, he said the knife was from the rectory.
In a spirited round of questions, Bianchi took the murder weapon from the evidence canister and held it before the jury. "Wouldn't you say that somebody on the other end of that knife would feel threatened?" he asked.
"If that's considered a threat, I told him," Feliciano said. "I was holding the knife in my hand. He said, 'What are you going to do?' ... I picked up the knife and I left.
When Bianchi asked why he picked up the knife, Feliciano said "I was angry." Bianchi asked why a knife and not a chair or a toaster. "Why would I pick up a toaster?" Feliciano said.
Feliciano said he left the rectory with the knife and walked to the parish center. "I was crying," he said. "I didn't want nobody to see me." He said he walked with his head down and avoided the gym because there were people inside. He said he walked to the kitchen, still with the knife, and started opening all the drawers and cabinets.
When Bianchi asked why he did that, Feliciano said he was "going crazy."
Bianchi asked Feliciano to use his glasses and a highlighter to show the jury how he held the knife when he picked it up and walked around the campus of St. Patrick School with it.
Later on, he said, he returned to the rectory to finish his conversation with Hinds. "When I came back we started talking again. He was expaliing about letting me go and helping me out in other ways. I said no," Feliciano said. "I put the knife on the table, [and] he grabbed the knife."
Bianchi asked how Hinds had grabbed the knife, and Feliciano said, "I don't know how he grabbed it. I don't remember that."
"It wasn't that he was defending himself while you were attacking him," Bianchi said.
During court Wednesday morning, Bianchi asked Feliciano about the allegations of a sexual affair between the former custodian and Hinds. "You never told that to the jury, did you?" Bianchi asked.
"No, sir," Feliciano responded.
In the confession, Feliciano told Paul that the "abuse" happened every day, right up until the day Hinds died, and "always in the rectory." During testimony Tuesday, Feliciano said it happened "five times" and in different places around the school and church, including the rectory, the middle school and the parish office.
Bianchi also asked about other statements Feliciano gave to Paul that were later proven false. During the first part of the interview between the two, Feliciano denied any involvement in Hinds' death and denied walking his dog in the park where police discovered evidence from the rectory, including bloody towels, the knife used to stab Hinds and a smashed cell phone belonging to the deceased.
Wednesday is Feliciano's third day of testimony in the trial for Hinds' murder.
Feliciano said under cross examination that the former paster of St. Patrick Church in Chatham Borough began touching him inappropriately in 2004.
In another incident in 2006, "Father Ed was teling me when he was touching my privacy that he would make sure my family will always be protected. ... He told me I could stay [in the job]."
In 2008 when a new custodial supervisor, John Gallagher, was hired, one of the custodians at St. Patrick Church lost his job. Feliciano said he spoke to a teacher and the administrator at the church because he "was concerned" about losing his own job.
Bianchi asked Feliciano "why were you worried, if you had assurances? Why not go to the man who sexually assaulted you, the guy who makes the decisions? ... Was it because those assurances had never been made in the first place?"
Feliciano responded that he'd gone directly to the administrator instead of speaking to Hinds.
"That guarantee was made," he said. "I didn't want to bother him."
The Hon. Thomas V. Manahan, sitting in Morristown, ruled that attorneys can ask Feliciano about his prior education and employment history, but cannot bring up his prior marriage and suspicions that he is a bigamist.
Feliciano confirmed in court, under cross examination, that though he never finished high school or earned a GED he did take several college courses at the College of New Rochelle and Adelphi University. Bianchi asked if Feliciano had finished 60 credits; Feliciano answered he thought it was closer to 30 or 40.
Chatham Patch will continue to update this story.