Sunday, June 23, 2024

Sadie Roberts-Joseph: Suspect Arrested in Murder of Founder of African-American History

*Five days after activist Sadie Roberts-Joseph, 75, was found dead in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, her alleged killer has been arrested and charged with murder. 

As we previously reported, Roberts-Joseph was known in the community as the founder of non-profit Odell S. Williams Now & Then Museum of African American History.

Ronn Jermaine Bell, 38, a convicted sex offender, has been charged with first-degree murder, Baton Rouge Police Chief Murphy Paul said Tuesday, CNN reports. 

Bell was reportedly a tenant in one of Sadie’s rental homes and behind $1,200 on his rent, but the chief said investigators have yet to establish “a complete, solid motive at this time.”

In a Facebook post, police mourned the loss of Roberts-Joseph who they called a “treasure to our community.”

“Ms. Sadie was a tireless advocate of peace in the community. We had opportunities to work with her on so many levels … Ms. Sadie is a treasure to our community, she will be missed by BRPD and her loss will be felt in the community she served.”

Bell was initially arrested on a warrant for failing to register as a sex offender, authorities said. He previously served seven years in prison for the aggravated rape of an 8-year-old girl in 2004. 

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sadie roberts joseph
Sadie Robert-Joseph

News of Roberts-Joseph being found dead in the trunk of her car last week prompted the community to reach out to police with information that could possibly help bring her killer to justice.

“Thank you, Baton Rouge, thank you for caring,” Paul said.

The East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office has determined the preliminary cause of death was “traumatic asphyxia, including suffocation.”

A toxicology report will be available in three weeks.

“All my mother ever wanted was for this community to come together. It’s ironic that that happened in death,” Roberts-Joseph’s daughter, Angela Machen, told reporters. “What she wanted to happen in life came to fruition in death. However, we will see to it that her legacy continues.”

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