Alleged killer claims he was minister's boyfriend

BY Advocate.com Editors

September 13 2002 11:00 PM ET

The investigation into the shooting death of a Bronx, N.Y., clergyman last week has taken a new twist, according to the New York Post. Police say the man accused of pulling the trigger claims to be the married minister's secret gay lover.

Lee Hernandez of the Bronx, arraigned September 10 on murder charges, told the police he had a three-year relationship with the Reverend Angel Colon Jr., 55, whose body was found face-down in his Yonkers home September 4 with a bullet wound in his head. "The suspect claims he had a physical relationship with the victim," Yonkers police commissioner Charles Cola said.

When asked if the relationship was sexual, Cola said, "That's what [Hernandez] claims. We're still looking into that aspect of the case."

Hernandez, a petty criminal with a record of burglary and domestic violence, told police he met Colon at Lincoln Hospital while he was recovering from a gunshot wound. Colon later got him a job at his El Tabernaculo Pentecostal Church in East Tremont. He later went on to do some maintenance work at the church, where Colon had served for 36 years as senior pastor.

Colon--whose last sermon on September 1, the last day he was seen alive, was about calling on God to deal with the effects of crime--was beloved by congregants and respected for his efforts to build churches in Central America.

Cola said police do not have a motive for the killing. The minister had been estranged from his wife and recently had filed for divorce. Police tracked down Hernandez last weekend after he allegedly used Colon's ATM card several times. He was arrested Saturday when officers spotted him near his home with the minister's stolen 2001 Infiniti automobile.

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