Murder on the Rue Dauphine
On September 24, 1998, at about 7:15 p.m., detectives from the Cold Case Squad and from the 8th District crashed into Robert Chidester's flophouse apartment at 2121 Jena St. in uptown New Orleans and arrested him.
A few hours later, in a recorded statement, Chidester confessed to a pair of veteran homicide cops that he'd killed Father Ramon Martinez because the priest had tried to force him to have anal sex. He also admitted to stealing Ramon's wallet, although he claimed he threw it and the $300 it contained into a storm drain.
In his confession, Chidester tried to make the argument that the killing had been justified by Ramon's behavior.
"I kept telling myself, 'Man, you're innocent in God's eyes,'" he told the detectives. "In God's eyes, this priest needed to be slain."
Chidester claimed to be an angel of death sent to punish the wicked priest.
"If this guy was really who he said he was...the priest that he claimed to be, the straight Catholic priest, not who he said he was to me, but who he said he was to the world at large, and the people he preached to in his congregation, then why would he try to do the things that he (did)?" Chidester said during his confession.
"Why would he try to get with another guy and all this other stuff if this is supposed to be wrong according to his laws in his religious books? And I just kept justifying it as, like, well, God must have his angels of death, and I guess that this was me here."
But even after solving the high-profile case, police officials were reluctant to release any details of Chidester's confession. They worked hard to avoid mentioning sex.
Lt. Robert McNeil, commander of the Homicide Division, would say only that Ramon and Chidester argued. "We have some idea what they were arguing about," he told The Times-Picayune. "But it would be inappropriate for me to disclose that at this time."