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Teen-Agers Held in Deaths of Two Priests in Buffalo

March 09, 1987|United Press International

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Two teen-agers, including one who had sought counseling from his alleged victims, were under arrest today on murder charges in the stabbing deaths and robberies of two inner-city Roman Catholic priests, police said today.

Police Commissioner Ralph Degenhart said Milton Jones, 17, and Theodore Simmons, 18, were charged with second-degree murder, robbery and possession of a weapon in the slayings of Father Joseph Bissonette, 54, and Msgr. David Herlihy, 75.

He said robbery was the motive in the slayings of the priests, who had been tied to chairs, beaten and stabbed.

Degenhart said Jones was arrested late Sunday night at a Buffalo residence and Simmons was picked up by police today in San Diego, Calif.

"Both priests had counseled Simmons and that led us to want to talk to him," Degenhart said. He said additional interviews led them to Jones, who confessed to both priest murders.

Degenhart said that the suspects knew the two priests for about a year and that a substantial--but undisclosed--amount of money was taken in the robberies.

Herlihy was killed early Sunday in the rectory of St. Matthew's Church, police said. On Feb. 24, Bissonette was found stabbed and beaten in St. Bartholomew's Church, just a few blocks away.

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