GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER

It Happened Again!!!

Yes,... it has happened again! I canít believe it! Is it justice, really? In the last issue I told you about an 81 year-old local Diocesan priest, Father William Kleffman, who had just been murdered on August 20, 1997. He had been bludgeoned to death with a hammer and robbed. He had retired only a few months before and it was his last night at the rectory. Police, the very day after the murder, arrested a transient, Rogerio Gallegos, who had spent a little time at Fr. Kleffmanís rectory volunteering some work in order to receive a bus ticket to San Francisco. Gallegos (57 years old) had a rap sheet longer than my arm and a Satanic tatoo on one of his arms. He had been arrested a number of times for assault and robbery. (Please read last monthís article entitled WE KNOW NOT THE DAY OR HOUR! for more details.)

After Gallegosí recent arrest, the judge refused to set bond for Gallegos and the hearing was set for Wednesday, September 10, 1997. The day came and County Judge Richard Jones dismissed the charge against Gallegos saying that prosecutors had raised suspicion about Gallegos but hadnít shown that he was the likely killer. Gallegos was set free.

Prosecutors had presented evidence that put Gallegos in the area of the church the night of the crime. But they presented no physical evidence that linked Gallegos directly to the crime scene, though a silver crucifix found in Gallegosí bag was suspected to have belonged to Fr. Kleffman, given to him by a parishioner only weeks before.

Police and witnesses had given a detailed description of the crime scene during the hearing, as well as Gallegosí activities before and after the homicide.

Prosecutors had presented more than three hours of testimony from six witnesses. Executive director of the Open Door Mission had disclosed to police that one of his volunteers overheard Gallegos saying in the days before the slaying that he was working for a priest and would kill him if he did not pay a certain amount of money. One thing not understandable to me is that this claim was not introduced during the preliminary hearing.

Police, investigators, and prosecutors have not given up on this case. They believe that Gallegos is the murderer, but the fact remains at present, that the judge set Gallegos free and the question on the minds of many people is: If Gallegos is the killer, will his release bring about the assault and murder of someone else?

Perhaps DNA results have not yet been received by local authorities. In no way can I claim the expertise of an attorney, and I certainly would not want the wrong man punished for the crime. However, a different judge had signed the arrest warrant for Gallegos which had to show probable cause and contained much of the same evidence presented in court at the hearing.

It seems to me that in all too many cases in our times, our court system favors the criminal. Remember that Gallegos has had a history of violent crimes and that this preliminary hearing was to establish whether or not Gallegos was to have a trial. The preliminary hearing was not the last word or final judgment of Gallegosí guilt or lack of it. Itís purpose was to establish if there was probable cause for Gallegos to have committed the crime and determine that the case was to go to trial. How can one judge find probable cause and another one say there was not probable cause?

Is this confusing or what? To me, this is all one more sign of satanís strength. He sows seeds of doubt and confusion. He muddles thinking so that oneís mind is unclear as to what is right or wrong. He moves judicial systems to punish the innocent and set free the guilty.

How many times have we heard of a murderer released from prison for good behavior only to murder someone else? How often have we heard of a child molester (who fooled his psychiatrist) being released from prison only to commit a similar crime?

I just donít understand it! The innocent continue to suffer. The State continues to fail to protect its citizens.

Our Lady of Medjugorje is right! She said: "Satan wishes to destroy you and the planet on which you live."

As stated, local authorities have not given up on this case. They have retained Gallegosí clothing for examination. Will they come up with enough proof for Gallegosí arrest again? And if so, will they find him? And will anyone else be hurt or murdered in the mean time?

"Pray, pray, pray!" Our Lady urges us. Only she and God can crush the head of the vile serpent. Until that time we shall continue to hear of vile acts, injustices, and murders.

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Kleffman. Please pray for his family and, yes, please pray for the perpetuator... that genuine conversion will take place and that the person will allow the Blood of Jesus to wash over him and make him as white as snow.
God bless you!


For more commentary on Fr. Kleffman, see the Archdiocese of Omaha page.
September 15, 1997 volume 8, no. 18;         Sister Mary Lucy Astuto's column