An Ohio killer made a grave confession to a priest when he fled to New York after murdering his girlfriend.
Jonathan Smith was on the run since July 14 when he made his way into the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in midtown Manhattan. The suspect was wanted for killing his girlfriend and igniting a fire by her dead body in attempts to destroy evidence.
Wrought with guilt, the 48-year-old approached a priest in the church and confessed his mortal sin.
“Someone is dead, and I feel really bad about it,” Smith reportedly told to a unnamed priest, a law-enforcement source told the New York Post.
“He says, ‘I killed my girlfriend in Columbus, Ohio,’ ” the source added.
“He just grabbed a priest and said, ‘I want to tell you something,’ ” another priest at the church told the Post.
The priest who had heard his confession contacted police in the area before detectives took the suspect’s formal confession.
Luckily, the criminal had not waited to divulge his acts during a formal confession in the midtown church, as the priest would have not been able to tell police due to seal of confession, a duty which prevents clergymen from disclosing anything they hear during the sacrament.
“But if someone is going down the street and happens to say, ‘Hi, Father, I killed Bob,’ that’s another thing entirely,” Joseph Zwilling, spokesman for the New York Archdiocese told the Post.
The Post reports that following the crime, Smith drove to New York from Ohio where he stayed at a homeless shelter. His car had been towed and never reclaimed.
The victim's mother, Phyllis Hart, claims Smith killed her daughter out of jealousy.
"She always had more male than female friends," Hart told the Post. "And Jonathan could not handle that."