A priest in Pennsylvania risked breaking Roman Catholic law by turning in a man who allegedly confessed to killing his wife.
John Grazioli, 44, had just married his 31-year-old wife, Amanda, in September, but police found her shot dead in the head in their home outside of Eerie after receiving a tip from his ex-wife that a suicidal Grazioli had killed his new one, the Eerie New-Times reported.
The financial advisor went to the St. Peter Cathedral in Eerie and tearfully told Rev. Michael Polinek on what he had done.
“He was calm,” Polinek told ABC News. “He told me that he killed his wife.”
After police found Grazioli’s wife, they tracked his cell phone to the nearby cathedral, where they found his white Mercedes SUV parked outside. Grazioli was in the rectory and admitted to Polinek that he had a weapon in his coat.
“After a little while, I was able to convince him for the sake of the rest of his family and other people that it would be a good idea to call the police — 911,” Polinek said.
Polinek then called 911 and coordinated with police, who locked down the church before taking Grazioli into custody without incident.
Eerie Police Department Deputy Chief Mike Nolan commended Polinek for his actions.
“It was heroic and he kept his composure,” he said.
Nolan said Polinek “did a very good job,” not just from the law enforcement perspective, but also “from the perspective of the man upstairs too.”
Catholic law forbids priests from contacting authorities about what is said during a confession, or else they risk ex-communication. However, Polinek felt that Grazioli did not partake in a formal sacramental confession, so it was acceptable to call police.
Grazioli was charged with homicide in his wife’s death. The motive remains unclear.
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 15, 2018
(H/T: Eerie New-Times)