Investigators say Jose Feliciano, 64, admitted stabbing the Rev. Edward Hinds, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported. Feliciano told police he killed the priest during an argument late Thursday afternoon in the rectory of St. Patrick's Church in Chatham.
When Hinds failed to appear at 8 a.m. Mass on Friday, employees, including Feliciano, went to look for him. They found his body on the floor of the rectory kitchen, and witnesses said Feliciano tried to perform CPR on the corpse.
Members of the parish, in a wealthy suburb 25 miles west of New York City, were shocked by the killing and then by Feliciano's arrest. One told the Star-Ledger Feliciano was "like a second father to all the St. Pat's kids."
Feliciano told police he put the knife and his bloody clothes in a bag and took them to his home in Easton, Pa., when his wife came to pick him up.
Investigators traced Hinds' cell phone to Feliciano's home, Bianchi said.