Ousted seminarian reportedly confesses to priest's murder
When Roman Catholic priest William Gulas was shot to death, then burned, in his office at Cleveland's St. Stanislaus Church, neighbors complained about the crime rate in the Slavic Village neighborhood. Others worried about burgeoning anti-Catholicism. But police now say that Gulas's murderer was one of the church's own workers.

Daniel Montgomery, a Catholic Theological Union seminarian who has worked as an intern at the church since July, pled not guilty yesterday to the murder. In court, his lawyer said they hadn't met yet, but he was planning to examine Montgomery's mental health. "Here is an individual with no history of violence and very much of a pacifist," said Henry Hilow. "We have to look at what are the reasons that could explain the behavior he is accused of."

Montgomery's father agreed that his son was against guns, but indicated that he believes his son is guilty. "All his life he was against violence, against guns. As far as I know he never handled a gun. That would be the first one he picked up and unfortunately his aim was good," Joe Montgomery told Philadelphia's WCAU (video). "Seven years of frustration, he was in there, and he thought he was coming close to being established and he was told he had to leave the order and I think he just snapped."

Despite the plea, The Plain Dealer reported this morning that Montgomery has confessed to the murder and arson.

"In the weeks before the slaying, Franciscan officials had decided to terminate Montgomery's internship at St. Stanislaus," the Cleveland newspaper reports. "They told Montgomery the day before Thanksgiving, and he was scheduled to move out of the rectory today. One of the primary reasons for terminating him, sources said yesterday, was his use of profanity at the church's elementary school."

Montgomery, who was an unordained "Brother" at the church, tutored the kids in reading, especially the second graders. Rayvin Kelly, 7, says he "was nice to all the kids."

But others say he didn't really fit in well.

Thomas Luczak, provincial leader of the Franciscan order, told the Associated Press that Montgomery had shown himself unfit to be a Franciscan. (Other news reports say police accused him of misconduct with a male parishioner.) Gulas made reports on Montgomery's performance, Luczak said, but he wasn't the one who decided to end the internship.

Montgomery was the one to report the fire to authorities ("The 911 tape raised some flags," Cuyahoga County prosecutor William Mason told The New York Times). He even talked to reporters after it was clear that Gulas had died.

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