Cops Didn't Respond to Slain Priest's 911 Call: Prosecutors

A church janitor is being held on $1 million bail

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    AP
    lowers lie outside St. Patrick's Church in Chatham, N.J. on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2009. The church's pastor, Re. Ed Hinds was found dead after being stabbed 32 times. (AP Photo/Rich Schultz)

    Authorities investigating the stabbing death of a popular New Jersey Roman Catholic priest last week are focusing on why a 911 call made from the victim's cell phone didn't result in a police response.

    A call was made Thursday evening from the Rev. Edward Hinds' cell phone in Chatham and it was received at a call center operated by the New Jersey State Police,  prosecutors in Morris County said.

    Murder on Holy Ground

    [NY] Murder on Holy Ground
    A priest was found dead in the rectory of St. Patrick's Church in Chatham. Father Edward Hinds was still dressed in vestments. He was last seen alive around 11 last night, following a safety seminar held by police at the church -- in which they fingerprinted and photographed young children. (Published Friday, Oct 23, 2009)

    The caller requested police services before the call was cut off. The operator called back and got another man believed to be the suspect Jose Feliciano, who told the operator there was no emergency. Hinds' body was found Friday morning in the church rectory, where he was apparently brewing coffee before he was killed.

    Investigators are probing whether the state police dispatcher notified local police about the call.

    Meantime, bail was set at $1 million for the church janitor accused of killing Rev. Hinds.

    Feliciano, 64, of Easton, Pa., was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Rev. Ed Hinds.  In a confession, the janitor said that the slaying was the culmination of an argument.

    The janitor was about to be booted from his job of 17 years, The New York Daily News reported.  The layoff was apparently a financial move, the newspaper said, citing officials from St. Patrick's Church.

    The 61-year-old Hinds was found dead at about 8 a.m. Friday after he failed to appear for morning Mass.