Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Suspect pleads not guilty in Cleveland priest's death



By Thomas J. Sheeran
The Associated Press

CLEVELAND - A fired Franciscan trainee pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he shot a Roman Catholic priest to death and set fire to the church rectory.

Montgomery
Montgomery
Judge Emanuella Groves ordered Daniel Montgomery, 37, held without bond.

Mr. Montgomery was silent during the hearing in Cleveland Municipal Court. Defense attorney Henry Hilow said afterward he had not yet discussed the case with his client.

Mr. Montgomery, who was training to be a Franciscan brother, is charged with aggravated murder and aggravated arson in the slaying of the Rev. William Gulas, 68. A preliminary court hearing was set for Jan. 14.

Father Gulas, his body burned beyond recognition, was found Saturday in the burning rectory at St. Stanislaus Church in the city's Slavic Village neighborhood. The Cuyahoga County coroner said he had been shot in the chest and hit in the head.

Members of the parish said Mr. Montgomery didn't mix well.

"You'd try to talk to the guy and there just wasn't a lot of attention on his part," parishioner Richard J. Konisiewicz told the Plain Dealer.

Mr. Montgomery, a native of King of Prussia, Pa., was in his seventh year of training to become a Franciscan brother, according to the Rev. Thomas Luczak, provincial leader of the Franciscan order.

Mr. Montgomery was told about a week ago that his internship was finished, Father Luczak said.

Mr. Montgomery had consoled parishioners outside the rectory after the fire and helped distribute communion Sunday.




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