A 61-year-old man has been charged in Los Angeles with the murder of Irish-born bishop David O’Connell who was shot dead last weekend.
Los Angeles County district attorney George Gascón said on Wednesday the accused, identified as Carlos Medina, faced one count of murder with a special allegation that he used a firearm in commission of the murder.
Medina is the husband of Bishop O’Connell’s housekeeper. He had previously carried out some work at the bishop’s house.
If convicted, he faces up to 35 years to life in prison.
The motive for the killing of Bishop O’Connell remain unclear.
Investigators do not believe there is any basis to suggestions made earlier in the week that there may have been a dispute over money.
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Lieutenant Michael Modica of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who is leading the homicide investigation, said Medina told detectives of several reasons for the violence, “and none of them made any sense to investigators”.
Police said earlier this week a witness had maintained that Medina had been acting strange and had made comments about the bishop owning him money.
However on Wednesday Lieutenant Modica said investigators had discounted that possibility.
Bishop O’Connell, who was originally from Glanmire in Cork, was found dead last Saturday.
Police said earlier this week that a deacon had called to his house when he did not attend a scheduled meeting.
Police said Bishop O’Connell had a gunshot wound to the upper body and was found in his bedroom. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Medina was arrested earlier this week by police after a stand-off which lasted for a number of hours.
Police said that Medina’s wife was fully co-operating with the investigation.
Mr Gascón said: “This was a brutal act of violence against a person who dedicated his life to making our neighbourhoods safer, healthier and always serving with love and compassion.”
“As Catholics around Los Angeles and the nation start the holy season of Lent let us reflect on Bishop O’Connell’s life of service and dedication to those in greatest need of our care. Charging Mr Medina will never repair the tremendous harm that was caused by this callous act, but it does take us one step closer to accountability.”
Archbishop José Gómez of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles said earlier this week that Bishop O’Connell had been “a good priest, a good bishop and a man of peace”.
“Every day he wanted to show compassion to the poor, to the homeless, to the immigrant and to all those living on society’s margins,“ he said.