Jackson, Miss., Jun 22, 2018 / 11:21 am
A man convicted of the 2016 slayings of two religious sisters in Mississippi will not receive the death penalty and will instead spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Rodney Earl Sanders, 48, pled guilty on Thursday to murdering Sr. Margaret Held, SSSF, and Sr. Paula Merrill, SCN, as well as the theft of Held's car. The two were found stabbed to death and sexually assaulted at their home in Durant, Mississippi, on August 25, 2016. They worked as nurse practitioners at a medical clinic near their home. Their bodies were discovered after they failed to arrive to work.
Sanders did not give a motive for his crimes. At the time of the murders, he was living in a shed across the street from the sisters' home. He was arrested and charged the day after the crime. Police said he was a person of interest from the beginning of the investigation.
Held was a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis, which is based in Milwaukee, and Merrill was a member of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, from Kentucky.