The story of Irene Garza’s murder will return to primetime Saturday night as CBS’ “48 Hours” is again featuring what was once a half-century-old cold case.
The show’s newest episode, “Sins of the Father,” will be broadcast at 9 p.m. and takes viewers inside Hidalgo County’s 92nd district court, the site of the John Feit murder trial.
Rio Grande Valley viewers already know the outcome of a case that took decades to be brought to trial. After only seven days in the courtroom in early December 2017, Feit was convicted of Garza’s 1960 murder and sentenced to life in prison.
The 85-year-old former priest, who resided in Arizona prior to his 2016 arrest for murder, is currently housed in a Huntsville, Texas prison.
The show began investigating the case more than five years ago and “48 Hours” correspondent Richard Schlesinger, who is no stranger to cold cases, told The Monitor that he had never covered “a case this cold.”
“It was so much harder to crack because the theory of the prosecution was that there was a conspiracy,” Schlesinger said. “Conspiracies by nature are hard to prove … This case had so many layers to it. It had a much-beloved victim…”
The production team spent three weeks in the Valley reporting the broadcast.
Schlesinger said he was drawn to the persistence and perseverance of Garza’s family, who pressed for former district attorney, Rene Guerra, to indict Feit. Current Hidalgo County DA Ricardo Rodriguez campaigned in part on taking a closer look at the case.
Both Noemi Ponce Sigler and Lynda de la Viña — relatives who spent the past two decades researching and investigating the case — will be interviewed in Saturday night’s episode, as will lead prosecutor Michael Garza and lead defense attorney O. Rene Flores.
Schlesinger described the attorneys as “spectacular” and some of the best he has seen, referring to the trial as “a real contest to watch.”
“I could have seen (the verdict) going the other way,” saidSchlesinger. “Flores had some compelling arguments. There was a lot of evidence that was really old and some people’s memories had faded.”
The broadcast also features interviews with witnesses who took the stand, such as Sylvia Acevedo Stern, the victim’s godsister. Schlesinger said Stern will share a story during the broadcast that she didn’t tell when called to the witness stand.
A preview clip of “Sins of the Father” can be found at http://cbsn.ws/2GgINN3. The full episode will be posted online following Saturday’s broadcast.