Home / National News / Family of Suspect in Murder of Mississippi Nuns Breaks Down as He Appears in Court


(JACKSON, Miss.) — After the man accused of murdering two nuns in their Mississippi home appeared in court Monday, his family broke down and apologized to the family of one of the victims, according to ABC affiliate WAPT-TV in Jackson.

The suspect, Rodney Earl Sanders, 46, of Kosciusko, Mississippi, was arrested late Friday in connection with the deaths of Sister Paula Merrill and Sister Margaret Held in Durant, Mississippi.

Sanders was wearing shackles and a bulletproof vest as he was taken to the courthouse in Durant Monday afternoon, WAPT-TV reported.

Sanders, who has been charged with two counts of capital murder, in addition to other charges, will be appointed an attorney, according to WAPT-TV.

He will remain in jail without bond, WAPT-TV reported.

It is believed Sanders acted alone in the murders, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Safety.

The bodies of the two nuns were found by police Thursday morning when they did not report to work, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson said.

The two nuns also worked as nurse practitioners in the community.

“She was so good to the people down there and they just loved her,” Merrill’s sister, Rosemarie Merrill, told WAPT-TV.

“These sisters have spent years of dedicated service here in Mississippi,” Bishop Joseph Kopacz said, according to a statement on the site for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson. “They absolutely loved the people in their community.”

“We got each other’s backs over here,” a community member told WAPT-TV. “So when this happened, it’s devastating.”

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