Man arrested in slaying of Louisiana priest

A handyman who did work at a Waveland, Miss., beach house where a Hammond priest was killed has been arrested in the shooting death, authorities confirmed Tuesday.

The body of the Rev. Edward E. Everitt, pastor of Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, was found late Monday after he had been shot in the head, officials with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said.

John Manieri, 31, of Waveland, was arrested in Polk County, Fla., in connection with the killing, said Jon Kalahar, a spokesman for bureau.

Manieri is currently being held in Escambia County, Fla., on a separate warrant for auto theft, while Mississippi moves to extradite him on murder, Kalahar said.

Kalahar also confirmed that Manieri is a registered sex offender.

He was arrested after authorities tracked the priest’s car to Florida using the vehicle’s OnStar tracking system, Kalahar said.

Manieri was a handyman who had done work at the beach house where the priest’s body was found by a caretaker of the building, Kalahar said.

He said the bureau is working the case with Waveland Police.

The beach house is owned by the Dominican community in Hammond, said the Rev. Dave Caron, a spokesman for the Dominicans.

He said it is unknown exactly when the priest had been killed.

The priest had gone to the beach house on his day off, Caron said.

Everitt also served as pastor of Our Lady of Pompeii in Tickfaw, Caron said.

Everitt had been pastor of the two churches since 2006, Caron said.

Earlier in his career, Everitt had served with the campus ministry at Southeastern Louisiana University, Caron said.

A Mass of remembrance will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Holy Ghost Catholic Church. Caron said funeral arrangements are pending.

Judy Couvillion, a member of Holy Ghost, said the church has been devastated by the death of its pastor who was a “very good and compassionate man.”