Felony murder charges expected for suspect in priest's death

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The suspect in a St. Johns County priest's death has been extradited to Georgia and is expected to be charged with felony murder after he led deputies to Father Rene Robert's body on Monday.

Burke County law enforcement has filed a murder warrant for Steven Murray, the man suspected in the death of Father Rene.

He led St. Johns County deputies to Father Rene's body in a remote area in Waynesboro, Ga. Monday night.

Investigators in Georgia are taking over the case and an autopsy is expected to be complete on Wednesday, Burke County Sheriff Greg Coursey said.

Murray, 28, was arrested in Aiken County, South Carolina, days after Father Rene was reported missing from St. Augustine on April 12.

The St. Johns County Sheriff's Office took Murray to the Burke County Jail in Georgia after the body was found. Custody has not yet been transferred from SJSO.

The Burke County Sheriff's Office said Murray will be interviewed by officials from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday.

Murray is expected to be charged in the coming days by the State of Georgia with felony murder, SJSO and Coursey said.

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Investigators said Murray likely made several trips from Florida through Georgia to South Carolina after Sunday, April 10, the last day anyone heard from Robert. Investigators believe Murray was on his way back to South Carolina on April 12 when he led police on a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 through St. Johns and Duval counties.

St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar said Father Rene had a violent death and there was no effort to hide his body. Burke County Sheriff Coursey said Murray doesn't seem affected by the events that have transpired over the last week.

"He's very friendly, seemed like he was a bit unconcerned," Coursey said.

Father Rene's body will be sent to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation crime lab in Atlanta for positive identification.

Murray could appear in Burke County Court Wednesday afternoon.

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