January 24, 2005

Priest denied involvement in double homicide, before killing himself in Dec.

Shawano Leader

By Robert Imrie, Associated Press
HUDSON -- Not far from the office where Dan O'Connell was murdered nearly three years ago, a plaque rests on a table, urging people to remember his life with joy and dedicating an outdoor peace garden in his name to the "glory of God."

"May the wind be always at your back," says the plaque, beside a large picture of the smiling, mustached 39-year-old father of two in the O'Connell Family Funeral Home's lobby.

"... And until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand."

Police are now investigating whether a man of God, a Roman Catholic priest, may have fatally shot the funeral home director and one of his interns, 22-year-old James Ellison.

Soon after police questioned the Rev. Ryan Erickson last month, the 31-year-old killed himself at his church. ...

Police questioned Erickson about the murders after a separate investigation was launched last fall into an allegation the priest was involved in a possible crime involving a child or children, Hudson Police Chief Richard Trende said.

He has refused to provide many details about the investigation, including what led detectives to question the priest about the murders, and a judge has sealed court documents in the case.

Trende will say the motive for the killings was "personal. It wasn't random."

Posted by kshaw at January 24, 2005 11:28 AM