Phoenix police arrest suspect in pastor's murder

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Jesse Monroy (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Jesse Monroy (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
John Moriarty John Moriarty
A pastor was killed and another man was assaulted during a burglary Feb. 27, 2015. (Source: KPHO/KTVK) A pastor was killed and another man was assaulted during a burglary Feb. 27, 2015. (Source: KPHO/KTVK)
Suspect sketch released shortly after the murder (Source: Phoenix Police Department) Suspect sketch released shortly after the murder (Source: Phoenix Police Department)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Police have arrested a suspect in the shooting death of a Valley pastor during a burglary last month.

Phoenix police detectives arrested Jesse A. Monroy, 38, Thursday afternoon. He faces first-degree murder, first-degree burglary, armed robbery and kidnapping charges.

Police said Monroy and another man entered a home near 20th Avenue and Van Buren Street and got into confrontations with two male residents at approximately 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 27.

John "Jack" Moriarty, 53, was shot and killed. The other man was assaulted and sustained a minor injury.

A third occupant hid inside a bedroom and called police, providing updates while officers were en route.

Police said the suspects stole some personal property and fled the area.

According to court paperwork, a witness said one of the suspects, later identified as Monroy, may have been wearing a wig. Police found a wig matching the description inside Monroy's home.

Monroy was on felony release at the time of the incident and is being held without bond.

Detectives are still searching for information and evidence to identify and locate the second suspect. He is described as a black male between 20 and 40 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 170 pounds.

Moriarty was the senior pastor at Redeemed Outreach Center in Phoenix. Those who knew "Pastor Jack" said he was dedicated to helping others turn their lives around.

James Valenzuela is one of those people.

"I lost a brother, and I lost a good friend, and I lost a pastor. That's what I lost," Valenzuela said. "It's been rough, but I can hear his words saying, 'It's all right.' Pretty much his last words to me were, 'It's gonna be all right, bro.' "

Witnesses said the suspects appeared to be under the influence of methamphetamine and went straight for Moriarty's bedroom. The suspects reportedly demanded money and shot Moriarty when he said there wasn't any money in the safe.

According to court paperwork, witnesses overheard Monroy tell the other suspect, "You didn't have to shoot him." The other suspect reportedly said, "He wouldn't listen to me."

"They get what they get," Valenzuela said. "That's pretty cold-hearted."

Valenzuela doesn't recognize Monroy from Redeemed Outreach, but others in the program say the suspect may have been involved about five years ago before he went to prison.

"That's really sad, and we'll pray for him as well," said Pastor Jerry Savacchio, who is now running the program. "I would say, turn yourself in. You did something really bad to a man of God, and turn yourself in."

Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6141 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.

Copyright 2015 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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