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Man pleads not guilty in priest's shooting death

  • The Associated Press
  • Published Thursday, July 17, 2014, at 11:53 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, July 17, 2014, at 3:40 p.m.

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— A homeless ex-convict has pleaded not guilty to charges that he beat a Catholic priest with a metal rod and fatally shot another clergyman during a burglary at a Phoenix church.

Gary Michael Moran was brought to court in a wheelchair Thursday for his arraignment on charges that he badly beat the Rev. Joseph Terra and fatally shot the Rev. Kenneth Walker in the June 11 attack at the Mother of Mercy Mission.

Moran's comments during the minutes-long hearing consisted of stating his name and age to Maricopa County Superior Court Commissioner Casey Newcomb.

He was arrested four days after the attack after police say his DNA matched forensic evidence collected from the scene.

Police say Moran had bragged about beating and robbing a priest and that a woman told them Moran had given her a bag that contained a camera belonging to one of the clergyman.

Authorities say Moran has acknowledged his involvement in the crime, though he initially didn't remember what happened.

His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 2.

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

His attorney, Bobbi Falduto, didn't immediately respond to a call Thursday morning seeking comment.

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