A suspect in the murder of 75-year-old Louisiana civil rights activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph is in police custody.
Ronn Bell, a former tenant of Sadie’s, has been charged with her murder after she was found dead in the trunk of a car near her home.
The coroner ruled Roberts-Joseph’s death a homicide from traumatic asphyxiation, potentially from strangulation, reported The Advocate.
“I’m heartbroken that our community has lost such a kind and selfless soul in such a violent, tragic manner,” lamented Easton Baton Rouge Sheriff Sid Gautreaux. “I have known and loved Ms. Sadie Roberts-Joseph for years and admire and respect her dedication to education and our community.”
DNA belonging to the suspect was discovered on Roberts-Joseph’s body, according to a police affidavit.
Bell, 38, has an extensive criminal history that includes a child-rape case and sex-offender registration violations.
“(Roberts-Joseph) was one of the standout matriarchs of Baton Rouge,” praised Baton Rouge Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. “We will make her legacy a priority . . . because of what she gave to so many here.”
Video shows Bell near the vehicle where Roberts-Joseph was discovered. The suspect copped to being in the area where the car had been dumped, but denied seeing the victim for several days, read the affidavit.
He also conceded that he was in arrears on rent payments but stated Roberts-Joseph gave him the OK to remain in the home provided he offered some cash.
Bell pleaded guilty to sexual battery after being accused of raping a 9-year-old girl in 2004. The following year, the unidentified child confided in a teacher about the assault, identifying Bell as the fiend, according to police reports.
We’re happy they found someone so quickly.