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Man admits fatally beating pastor to fend off sex assault

9-28-15 Pennsylvania:

A homeless man admitted to fatally beating his pastor with a hammer to fend off an attempted rape by the pastor.

Jose Colon, 20, pleaded guilty Monday to involuntary manslaughter in the heat of passion in the death of Luis Herrera (47) this spring in Allentown.

Colon was initially charged with homicide in the case and has been held without bail.

Colon is scheduled to be sentenced next month. Under the plea deal, he faces a minimum of up to 72 months in state prison, and a maximum of up to 20 years.

Attorneys said Colon and Herrera's families knew each other, and they met when Colon moved to the area with his family when he was 10. Herrera was a pastor, whose mission was to help "troubled youth," First Assistant District Attorney Steve Luksa said.

Herrera began "grooming" Colon when he was a child and eventually it lead to sexual contact between the two, defense attorney Kim Makoul said.

Colon previously told police he performed sex acts with Herrera for money and shelter. In court on Monday, Colon said he had smoked K2 earlier in the day of the attack, and that it was the first time Herrera tried to have sex with him.

Lehigh County Judge Robert Steinberg said they were "troubling" accusations against Herrera, and asked prosecutors if they found evidence to corroborate them.

Luksa said there were text messages and photos that corroborated some of Colon's claims, although detectives could not find one of Herrera's phones he used for those purposes.

Also, Luksa said police and Lehigh County Children and Youth Services were investigating a separate claim involving another young person.

The night of March 22, Colon said he went to Herrera's room in a boarding house in the 700 block of West Washington Street, cleaned the room, took a shower and went to bed, police Detective Eric Landis previously testified.

Colon said on Monday he woke up to Herrera lying in bed behind him, with his arm around Colon's chest, trying to have sex with him.

Colon told police he repeatedly bit Herrera, then the two began to fight. Colon said he grabbed a hammer that he had used to hang up some pictures, and hit Herrera in the head about four times, police previously testified.

Colon told officers Herrera was injured and bleeding, and told him to call 911, Luksa said. Colon said he told Herrera to call 911 himself, grabbed Herrera's car keys and left, securing a padlock on the outside of the room's door.

Colon told investigators Herrera was still alive when he left. Luksa said evidence supported the claim, and that there was blood in the apartment that showed Herrera moved around, and even opened the second floor window.

At 12:30 p.m. the following day, city police were called for a welfare check and found the padlock still on Herrera's door.

After opening the door, officers found a blood-filled scene around Herrera and a hammer next to his body, police said. Herrera was pronounced dead at the apartment.

In an interview with police, where Colon waived his Miranda rights, Colon said he began his relationship with Herrera a few months prior, Landis said. ..Source.. by Sarah Cassi

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