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Homeless man gets life in prison for murder of Phoenix priest

(AP File Photo)

PHOENIX — A homeless ex-convict was sentenced Friday to life in prison in the shooting death of a Catholic priest and the beating of another clergyman during a burglary at a Phoenix church.

Gary Michael Moran received the sentence Friday for the 2014 death of the Rev. Kenneth Walker and the beating of the Rev. Joseph Terra at the Mother of Mercy Mission.

Gary M. Moran

Gary M. Moran

The guilty pleas in late February spared the 57-year-old the possibility of a death sentence.

The attack occurred after Terra opened the door of the rectory to investigate noises in a courtyard at the church near 15th Avenue and Monroe Street.

Authorities said Moran beat Terra with a metal rod and used a gun owned by Terra to shoot Walker.

Police said Moran’s DNA matched forensic evidence collected from the scene.

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