CLEVELAND (AP) – A man training to be a Franciscan brother was charged yesterday with killing a Roman Catholic priest whose burned body was found in his office, the police chief said.

Daniel Montgomery, 37, had comforted parishioners on Saturday as the body of the Rev. William Gulas was removed from the rectory of St. Stanislaus Church.

“The flames were that high, I could not do anything,” he said then.

When he saw the fire, he said he didn’t realize the pastor was inside. “I couldn’t hear him, he was probably overcome by the flames by the time I got there,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery was charged with aggravated murder and aggravated arson, Police Chief Edward Lohn said. He was to be arraigned today.

Gulas, 68, pastor of St. Stanislaus for nine years, was shot once in the chest Saturday before the fire was set, the Cuyahoga County coroner said. According to preliminary investigation, he also had been struck on the top of his head, Coroner Elizabeth Balraj said.

Police yesterday did not immediately offer a possible motive.

Authorities had not determined the cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $50,000 damage.

City Councilman Edward Rybka, who is a member of St. Stanislaus Church and represents the neighborhood, said Montgomery was undergoing a review to become a permanent Franciscan brother. “I’m not sure that review was positive.”

Gulas’ body, which was burned beyond recognition, was found inside his first-floor office at the rectory next door, which had been set on fire.

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