Justice For James Harry Reyos
‘Innocent man jailed for killing Irish priest’
A WRITER who campaigned for the convicted killer of
Jill Dando believes a man jailed for life for murdering an Irish priest is
Co. Limerick born priest Fr Patrick “Paddy” Ryan (49) was brutally murdered in a seedy motel in Odessa, Texas, on December 21, 1981.
The following day, the Pallotine priest’s body was found naked, hands tied behind his back and bludgeoned to death.
The former Dean of Studies at the Pallotine seminary in Thurles had no identification with him when found, and the room, at the Sand and Sage Motel, was registered under a different name.
His hands were tied with strips of heavy cloth and he appeared to have been dead for about 10 hours before he was discovered.
The motel where he was found was 94 miles from his parish.
Mr Lomax, who set up a website to highlight the case, said it took the police a number of days to identify the body.
In the meantime, a missing person’s investigation had been launched to Find Fr Ryan after it was determined he had failed to say Christmas Mass and had left some food being cooked at his home.
The police struggled to find the individual
responsible for Fr Ryan’s horrific murder.
“The conviction of James Reyos is incredibly worrying because there was absolutely no evidence linking him to the murder of Fr Patrick Ryan,” Mr Lomax says.
“There were fingerprints and hairs at the scene of the crime which did not belong to Mr Reyos or Fr Ryan.”
Despite evidence showing he was 200 miles away from the crime scene on the night of the murder – including receipts and a traffic stop by police – Reyos was convicted and sentenced to 38 years imprisonment.
In 2004, Reyos was released from prison, on parole, after it was determined he posed no danger to the public. But now he wants to clear his name, Mr Lomax says.
Police never identified the man – but one detective believes he was connected to the deaths of Fathers Ryan and Carrier – and may even have been a Catholic priest.
“Was Fr Carrier killed by the same man who killed Fr
Ryan?”, Mr Lomax asked.
The above article appeared in the Evening Herald (a newspaper from the Republic of Ireland) on Saturday 6 August 2005. I only received a copy of the article in November 2005.