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Home / Beyond the Bay / ‘I washed my hands because they were sticky.’ Mississippi man confesses to killing 2 nuns
‘I washed my hands because they were sticky.’ Mississippi man confesses to killing 2 nuns
BY ASSOCIATED PRESS
A Mississippi man has confessed to stabbing two nuns to death in their home, according to testimony from an investigator.
LeCarus Oliver, a Mississippi Bureau of Investigations officer, testified on Friday during a preliminary hearing for 46-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko.
Oliver testified that Sanders’ confession to law enforcement officers was recorded on audio the day Sanders was arrested last month.
According to Fox News Oliver testified that Sanders washed up after killing the women because ‘his hands were sticky’.
Sanders is charged with capital murder in the slayings of Sisters Margaret Held and Paula Merrill, both 68, who worked as nurse practitioners in one of the poorest counties in the nation.
Their bodies were found in their home in the small town of Durant on August 25 after they failed to show up to work at the clinic in nearby Lexington.
Sanders was arrested the next day.
He remains jailed without bond, and a municipal judge ruled on Friday that there is enough evidence against Sanders to send the case to a grand jury.
Last month, it was revealed that Sanders has spent 10 of the last 16 years behind bars.
Records from the Iowa Department of Corrections show he was in prison from June 2004 to February 2011 on a conviction of second-degree robbery.
He also was in custody in Iowa from August 1999 to August 2002 on a conviction of theft, and from April to October 1996 for two counts of third-offense drunken driving.
Merill and Held, both Roman Catholic nuns, often treated uninsured patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions.
Their stolen car was found abandoned a mile from their home, and there were signs of a break-in, but police have not disclosed a motive.
At the clinic where the nuns worked, they gave flu shots, dispensed insulin and provided other medical care for children and adults who couldn’t afford it.
Last month, Merill was laid to rest in Kentucky while Held, her longtime friend and co-worker, was buried in Wisconsin.
Held’s colleagues said it was the social upheaval of the 1960s that drove her to commit to her religious order as a teenager.
Held was a member of the School Sisters of Saint Francis in Milwaukee, where one of her eight siblings, Sue Zuern, told hundreds at her funeral that she feels comforted and at peace knowing that her sister has received her heavenly reward.
Friends recalled her hospitality, her bountiful garden and her cooking skills.
Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki said the two nuns had fulfilled their mission, and their lives should serve as an example of service to God.
Merill was remembered as a quiet, selfless servant who practiced her religion through daily acts of compassion.
‘Her goal in life was to live that faith rather than just talk about it,’ said her nephew, David Merrill.