Man Charged in Murder of Mississippi Nuns

Rodney Sanders faces 2 counts of capital murder
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 27, 2016 6:39 AM CDT
Man Charged in Murder of Mississippi Nuns
This undated photo provided by Sisters of Charity of Nazareth shows Sister Paula Merrill. Sister Margaret Held and Merrill, two nuns who worked as nurses and helped the poor in rural Mississippi, were found slain in their home and there were signs of a break-in and their vehicle was missing, officials...   (Uncredited)

Authorities say they have charged a 46-year-old man in connection with the murder of two nuns who were found dead in their home in Mississippi on Thursday. Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain said in a statement Friday night that Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko has been charged with two counts of capital murder in the deaths of Sister Margaret Held and Sister Paula Merrill, both 68, the AP reports. Their bodies were discovered Thursday after they failed to show up for work at a clinic in Lexington, about 10 miles from where they lived. "Sanders was developed as a person of interest early on in the investigation," Lt. Colonel Jimmy Jordan said in the statement.

Sanders is being held in an undisclosed detention center awaiting his initial court appearance. In the Mississippi county where the two nuns were slain, forgiveness for their killer is hard to find, even if forgiveness is what the victims would have wanted. The nuns were nurse practitioners who dedicated their lives to providing health care to people in the poorest county in the state. "Right now, I don't see no forgiveness on my heart," says Joe Morgan Jr., a 58-year-old former factory worker who has diabetes and was a patient of Merrill's at the clinic where the two nuns worked .He says he hopes the perpetrator is convicted and executed. "She doesn't deserve to die like this, doing God's work," he says. "There's something wrong with the world." (Read more Mississippi stories.)

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