Silva Martínez, alleged attacker of the priest who died yesterday. Silva Martínez, alleged attacker of the priest who died yesterday.

Charge expected after Catholic priest dies

He had been stabbed in May following mass in Mexico City cathedral

The man who attacked a priest at the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City in May is expected to be charged with homicide following the priest’s death yesterday.

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José Miguel Machorro Alcalá became the fourth Catholic prelate to be killed this year.

His alleged attacker was Juan René Silva Martínez, originally from Matehuala, San Luis Potosí, who has been held in custody since the May 15 incident, which occurred as the priest was concluding a mass.

Machorro had descended from the altar to give worshippers a blessing. When he turned back to the altar, he was stabbed in the throat with a knife.

Judicial authorities in Mexico City decided in April that the attack could not be prosecuted on the grounds that Silva was unable to comprehend the consequences of his actions and was therefore not responsible for them.

The president of the council of Catholic lawyers told the newspaper El Universal that the charges against Silva now include murder, and that during the next hearing in the case, scheduled for September 6, his organization would present evidence to oppose the decision that Silva was not legally responsible.

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Silva, 30, has lived in Mexico City for the past eight years. He was previously an engineering student in San Luis Potosí but had reportedly abandoned his studies. His attorney had attempted to have him released into the care of his mother but a court decided preventative custody was warranted instead.

Machorro was being treated for a stomach infection in a Tehuecán, Puebla, hospital but contracted infectious gastroenteritis and was transferred Tuesday in critical condition to a hospital in Mexico City. He was declared brain dead on Wednesday.

He had been a priest in the Archdiocese of Mexico City for the past 20 years.

Source: El Universal (sp), Televisa (sp)

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