Bishop convicted of hit-and-run death

Wednesday 18 February 2004 01:00

A bishop in the United States has been convicted of hit-and-run killing.

Thomas O'Brien was found guilty of leaving the scene after killing a pedestrian with his Buick in a crash that ended his career as head of the Phoenix Roman Catholic diocese in Arizona.

O'Brien is believed to be the first Roman Catholic bishop in US history to be convicted of a felony.

Jurors deliberated for more than four hours on Friday and another two hours yesterday before reaching their verdict.

Jim Reed, who was jaywalking, was killed in the incident on 14 June last year.

O'Brien, 68, said he thought he hit a dog or that his car had been struck by a rock.

Prosecutors argued that O'Brien knew or should have known that he hit someone because of the loud noise and giant crack in his windshield.

The accident happened less than two weeks after prosecutors announced that O'Brien had struck a deal to avoid indictment on obstruction charges for protecting priests accused of child molestation.

O'Brien could be sentenced to anything from probation to three years and nine months in prison.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments