Justice For James Harry Reyos


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Case Overview

On the evening of 21 December 1981 Father Patrick Ryan, an Irish Catholic priest, checked into the Sand and Sage Motel in Odessa, Texas, USA. He used a false name, which we now know (because he was a practicing homosexual) implied he was intending to meet someone for a sexual encounter.


The following day Father Ryan’s body was found. He had had his hands tied behind his back and he had been bludgeoned to death. It took the police a number of days to identify the corpse and in the meantime a missing person’s investigation had been launched to find Father Ryan after it was determined he had failed to give Christmas Mass and had left some food being cooked at his home.


The police struggled to find the individual responsible for the horrific murder, with no witnesses having seen or heard anything suspicious on the night of Father Ryan’s death.


A breakthrough occurred, however, when In November 1982 James Harry Reyos, a closet homosexual who admitted being with Father Ryan hours before the crime, was arrested after making a drunken telephone confession to the police. Upon being arrested he retracted his confession and has consistently maintained his innocence ever since.


Despite retracting his confession, and evidence showing he had been two hundred miles away form the crime scene on the night of the murder (discussed in more detail on ‘The Evidence’ page of this site) James stood trial for Father Ryan’s murder in 1983. On 10 June that year he was convicted of the crime and sentenced to thirty-eight years imprisonment.


For a news video about James’ case please visit www.keyetv.com, click on ‘KEYE Investigates’ on the left hand side of the screen and finally click on the link to the story from 5/17/05. The link reads ‘KEYE 42 Investigates with Nanci Wilson 5/17/05: Waiting For Justice.’