Man charged in killing of Los Angeles bishop
Los Angeles –
Prosecutors on Wednesday charged a man with killing a Catholic bishop in a crime that alarmed religious groups and immigrant communities in Los Angeles.
69-year-old Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was shot multiple times Saturday in the bedroom of his home in Hacienda Heights, an unincorporated community about 20 miles (30 km) east of downtown Los Angeles.
The suspect, Carlos Medina, is the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper. Medina was on business at the bishop’s house and was arrested by SWAT teams on Monday.
LA County District Attorney George Gascon said Wednesday that Medina was charged with one count of murder, along with a specific allegation that he personally used a firearm.
“Indicting Mr. Medina will not repair the enormous damage caused by this insensitive act, but it does bring us one step closer to accountability,” Gascon said.
Medina faces a 35-year life sentence. He appears in court Wednesday afternoon and his arraignment has been postponed until March 22nd.
Medina’s public defender’s office, which represents Medina, said in a statement that Medina was presumed innocent and was “entitled to an affirmative defense.”
A senior lieutenant has been appointed to handle it because the case is so serious, the statement said.
“We are sensitive to the impact this case has had on our community, but are also careful not to rush to a verdict.”
According to Angelus News, the nation’s largest news outlet for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, O’Connell has been a priest for 45 years and was originally from Ireland. In 2015, Pope Francis appointed him one of his Auxiliary Bishops of the Archdiocese.
Lt. Michael Modica of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who is leading the homicide investigation, said Medina told detectives several reasons for the violence, but because “none of them make sense to investigators.” , the motive remains unknown.
Modica said earlier reports that Medina said O’Connell owed him money appeared to be false.