Former Valley priest convicted of murder dies in prison

Local News

A former Rio Grande Valley priest sentenced to life in prison for the 1960 murder of McAllen school teacher, Irene Garza, has died.

John Feit was pronounced dead at 5:38 A.M. Tuesday at Huntsville Hospital. He was found unresponsive just before 5:00 A.M. in his cell at the Estelle Unit. The preliminary cause of death is cardiac arrest according to Texas Department of Criminal Justice Communications officer, Robert Hurst.

As Local 23 reported, Feit was sentenced to life in prison back in December 2017 in the 25-year-old Texas beauty queen’s death.

An autopsy revealed she had been raped, beaten and suffocated.

For decades, relatives of Garza dedicated their time and effort to seek justice for her and put away the man responsible for her death. 

“Irene finally got her day in court and that’s all we ever wanted. Bless her heart now she can rest. Her story has been told and nobody could ever deny it anymore. I don’t know how to feel anymore, I just felt like justice has been served,” Said Noemi Ponce Sigler, Garza’s relative.

John Feit was appealing his conviction.

Rodriguez told Local 23 Feit’s death has no effect on his conviction and the appeal will be abated.

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