MORRISTOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A former janitor convicted of murdering a New Jersey priest in 2009 has been sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Jose Feliciano stabbed Rev. Edward Hinds 44 times inside the rectory of St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Chatham after the priest fired him, prosecutors said.

Feliciano’s lawyer had told jurors that his client killed the priest in a fit of rage after being sexually blackmailed by Hinds, who learned the janitor had an outstanding warrant from the 1980s for molesting a child.

However, the shocking attempt to justify murder was rejected by the jury that found the 66-year-old Feliciano guilty.

Feliciano even took the stand in his own defense during the trial, admitting he killed the beloved priest. The defense never denied the killing but said Feliciano reacted after suffering through years of abuse.

“I just went crazy and I approached him and I stabbed him,” Feliciano had testified.

Feliciano was convicted in December.

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