The Latest: Hearing set for man charged in 2 nuns' slaying

The Latest on the killing of two nuns in Mississippi (all times local):

10:44 a.m.

An initial court appearance is set for the man charged with killing two nuns in their Mississippi home.

A court clerk says the hearing for 46-year-old Rodney Earl Sanders of Kosciusko (cause-ee-ESS-ko), Mississippi, is scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday in Durant Municipal Court. It was not immediately clear whether Sanders is represented by an attorney.

Sanders is charged with two counts of capital murder in the slayings of Sisters Margaret Held and Paula Merrill, both 68, who were found stabbed to death Thursday in their home in Durant. They had worked as nurse practitioners in one of the poorest counties in Mississippi.

During a memorial Mass on Monday in Jackson, the Rev. Greg Plata, who ministers at the Lexington church where Held and Merrill worshipped, noted a joint statement against the death penalty released Sunday by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth and the School Sisters of St. Francis of Milwaukee.

Plata says: "Justice for a heinous crime demands punishment, but it does not demand revenge."


2:19 a.m.

A memorial Mass will be held Monday for two 68-year-old nuns who were killed in their Mississippi home, even as authorities continue to investigate the stabbing. Meanwhile, the sheriff says a man from about 15 miles away has confessed without giving a reason.

The Mass will be at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle in Jackson, about an hour's drive from Durant, the town of 2,500 where Sisters Margaret Held and Paula Merrill lived until last week.

They both worked at a health clinic for the poor in nearby Lexington, where they also led Bible study at a church. And more than 300 people came to St. Thomas Church to say farewell, even though more than half had to watch the vigil for the deceased on a monitor outside.