Man Arrested in Murder of Sadie Roberts-Joseph, Founder of Baton Rouge African-American History Museum, Was Her Tenant and Owed Her $1,200 in Rent

Ronn Jermaine Bell / Louisiana State Police

A former tenant of the founder of an African American history museum in Louisiana was charged Tuesday with her murder, authorities said.

Ronn Jermaine Bell, 38, was arrested for allegedly killing Sadie Roberts-Joseph, who was found dead in the trunk of her car on Friday, Baton Rouge police announced. He was charged with first degree murder.

A preliminary autopsy conducted by the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office showed Roberts-Joseph, 75, died of traumatic asphyxia.

Police said they did not have a motive yet in the case, but that Bell was a tenant in one of Roberts-Joseph’s rental houses and was several months behind on his rent.

Bell was a registered sex offender who pleaded guilty in 2007 to the aggravated rape of an 8-year-old girl and served seven years in prison, East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar C. Moore, III, said Tuesday.

Roberts-Joseph founded the Odell S. Williams Now and Then African American History Museum, now known as the Baton Rouge African American History Museum, in 2001, according to the Advocate. The museum is part of the New St. Luke Baptist Church campus on South Boulevard, where her brother serves as pastor, the outlet reported.

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SOURCE: NBC News, Doha Madani