DAILY CATHOLIC     FRI-SAT-SUN     October 16-18, 1998     vol. 9, no. 203

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

To print out entire text of Today's issue, go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE

ACCUSED GUATEMALAN PRIEST PROFESSES INNOCENCE IN MURDER

          GUATEMALA CITY (CWNews.com) - A Guatemalan priest accused of murdering a bishop told reporters on Wednesday that neither he nor his dog were involved in the slaying.

          Prosecutors contend that Father Mario Orantes had his German Shepherd dog attack Auxiliary Bishop Juan Gerardi Conedera in April and then bludgeoned him to death. Father Orantes lived in the same rectory as the bishop. Human rights groups suspect that the bishop's death was related to a report he released two days earlier that implicated pro-government paramilitary groups in the majority of deaths during the country's 36-year civil war.

          Father Orantes spoke to reporters as waited for a court hearing on a motion he be freed for lack of evidence. "I'm innocent," he said. "I repeat that I did not see or hear anything." Judge Isaias Figueroa was expected to rule by Wednesday afternoon.

          The priest's lawyers said they would argue in court that defense experts had proven there were no dog bites on Bishop Gerardi's body, undermining the prosecutors' case. "There is no concrete evidence against Father Orantes ... We hope the judge frees him, revoking for lack of merit the order that is keeping him in prison," Augusto Valenzuela told Reuters news service.


Articles provided through Catholic World News Service.
CWN is not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provides this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 16-18, 1998       volume 9, no. 203
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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