MISSISSIPPI (LEX 18/WLBT) The senseless and tragic slaying of two nuns in Mississippi made headlines across the world. One of the two nuns belonged to a congregation in Kentucky.
On Thursday, Rodney Earl Sanders was sentenced to life in prison for the 2016 murders. The 48-year-old took a plea deal, ensuring he will spend the remainder of his life behind bars. Sanders was sentenced to two separate life sentenced as well as 30 additional years for burglary and larceny.
All sentences were ordered to be served consecutively. He will have no chance at parole.
"To this day we continue to ask our selves about Paula and Margaret’s last hours and minutes, and it haunts us. How and especially why?" Asked Sister Susan Gatz of the Sisters of the Charity of Nazareth.
Sister Held of Milwaukee, and Sister Merrill of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Bardstown, were found stabbed to death in their home in Durant, Mississippi in August 2016. The two served that community as nurse practitioners.
Their deaths were senseless and confusing to all who knew them and even to those who didn’t. Their loved ones said that the sentencing of Rodney Earl Sanders was a relief. It is an answer to their prayers that they will not have to endure a trial or see Sanders be put to death.
"Mr. Sanders, we will never forget what you did to them and the suffering that has caused so many, but because we believe in Christ and his gospel, we forgive you," said Gatz.