Man accused of killing Florida priest attempts to flood cell

Murray

A man accused of killing a Florida priest was transferred Monday to a jail in Clayton County after trying to flood his cell in Jefferson County.

 

Steven Murray had been transferred to Jefferson County jail in late May after a suicide attempt while housed in the Burke County jail. On Saturday, Murray broke a sprinkler head in the cell in his attempt to flood it. He was later moved back to Burke County, according to Burke County Sheriff Greg Coursey.

After spending two nights in Burke County custody, Clayton County jail — located in Jonesboro — agreed Monday to take Murray. Coursey confirmed that he sent a request to the Georgia Sheriff’s Association asking for another county to provide a cell for Murray. Less than 24-hours after making the request, Clayton County responded.

Murray, 28, was taken into custody April 13 after the body of the Rev. Rene Robert, who had been missing, was found April 18 in a wooded area in the northern part of Burke County.

The Burke County grand jury on May 19 indicted Murray, 28, on charges of murder and weapon violations in Robert’s death. District Attorney Ashley Wright has filed notice that she intends to seek the death penalty against Murray

Investigators believe Murray tricked Robert, who was trying to counsel the former Aiken resident, into going to Aiken to visit Murray’s children on April 10. When Murray was denied access to the children, Murray forced Robert into the trunk of Robert’s Toyota and proceeded to commit a number of burglaries and an arson in Aiken, according to earlier reports.

Murray told investigators that he pulled off the side of the road at one point, took Robert from the trunk and shot him there. The following week, Murray agreed to show law enforcement where he killed Robert, which was off River Road in Burke County.

According to the notice of the intention to seek the death penalty, Wright listed four statutory aggravating circumstances: the slaying was committed while Murray was committing kidnapping with bodily injury, Murray killed the priest while engaged in aggravated battery, that Murray killed Robert for money or something of value, and Robert’s slaying was outrageously or wantonly vile, horrible or inhuman in that it involved torture, depravity of mind, or aggravated battery on the victim.

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