Teen charged with killing reservation nun

November 6, 2009 8:04:29 PM PST
A teenager was charged Friday with killing a nun after allegedly breaking into her trailer home on the Navajo Indian reservation in search of cash or valuable items.Federal authorities accused Reehahlio Carroll of Navajo of "unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought" in the death of 64-year-old Sister Marguerite Bartz, who served at St. Berard Catholic Church.

The federal complaint listed his year of birth as 1991, making him 17 or 18. Navajo Nation criminal complaints listed his age as 19. Carroll's attorney, Robert Gorence, said he had no comment on the case and hoped to meet with his client Friday.

Carroll reportedly told investigators he broke into her trailer home looking for cash or valuable items when Bartz struck him in the face with a shoe, the criminal complaint said. He hit her with a flashlight, knocking her to the ground, then hit her in the head five or six times and kicked her in the back and face, the complaint said.

Carroll left the room, searching for more items in the trailer, but heard Bartz screaming.

"In an effort to silence the woman, Reehahlio Carroll took a black shirt that was in the room and, while standing over the woman's body, tied the shirt over the woman's mouth, fastening the shirt with a knot tied at the back of the woman's head," the complaint said.

Bartz's body was discovered Sunday by another nun.

Friends and co-workers said Bartz was dedicated to working with the poor and oppressed and often counseled those with difficulties in the depressed town.

Carroll was arrested Thursday and charged under Navajo law with the unauthorized use of a car that had belonged to Bartz that was stolen four days after her murder, Navajo Nation court records and authorities said.

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