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Homeless Man Gets Life In Prison For Priest Murder

Three years ago, a priest was shot to death and another clergyman was badly beaten at a Catholic church in Phoenix. On Friday, homeless man was sentenced to life in prison for the crimes.

Gary Michael Moran avoided the death penalty by pleading guilty earlier this year in the death of the Rev. Kenneth Walker and the beating of the Rev. Joseph Terra at the Mother of Mercy Mission. Authorities say Moran went to the church to steal what he could find. They say he beat Terra with a metal rod after the priest discovered him, and after a struggle shot Walker with Walker’s own gun.

Moran was arrested four days later, after police said his DNA matched forensic evidence collected from the scene.

In 2001, Moran was sentenced to more than four years in prison after pleading guilty to misconduct involving weapons. In 1989, he also was convicted in two burglaries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

When senior field correspondent Stina Sieg was 22, she moved to the desert. She hasn’t been the same since. At the time, the Northern California native had just graduated from college and was hankering for wide-open spaces. So she took a leap and wrote to nearly every newspaper in New Mexico until one offered her a job. That’s how she became the photographer for a daily paper in the small town of Silver City. And that’s when she realized how much she loved storytelling. In the years since, the beauty of having people open up and share their stories — and trust her to tell them — has never gotten old to Sieg. Before coming to KJZZ, Sieg was also a writer and photographer at newspapers in Glenwood Springs, Colorado; Moab, Utah; and the Smoky Mountains town of Waynesville, North Carolina. She always had her hand in public radio, too, including hosting Morning Edition on a fill-in basis at WNCW in North Carolina. It’s still the best music station she’s found. When she’s not reporting, chances are Sieg is running, baking, knitting or driving to some far-flung town deep in the desert — just to see what it looks like.