Interrogation of man who killed St. Johns priest in 2016 to be featured on A&E’s ‘Interrogation Raw’

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. — The interrogation of a man who killed a St. Augustine Catholic priest in 2016 will be featured on the season premiere of “Interrogation Raw” on Thursday at 9 p.m. on A&E.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office posted on Facebook about the upcoming episode, saying that JSO Detective Harold Chapman “was assigned to the Homicide Unit where he put in long hours and hard work assisting St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office,” interrogating Steven Murray on the whereabouts of Father Rene Robert.

🚨 Investigating Crimes 🚨 Interviews and interrogations can make or break a criminal case. It can bring justice for the victims and their families or lead to a guilty person walking free. In 2016, #JSO Detective Harold Chapman was assigned to the Homicide Unit where he put in long hours and hard work assisting St. Johns County Sheriff's Office. During this interrogation, he sat with suspect Steven Murray and used verbal tactics which led to a confession and the location of the victim’s body. #Thankyou A&E for showcasing Detective Chapman’s astounding skills and training. #InterrogationRaw #crimestories #detectives #interviewsandinterrogations Georgia Bureau of Investigation

Posted by Jacksonville Sheriff's Office on Thursday, September 21, 2023


Here is an exchange between Murray and investigators in a preview of the show that was shared by JSO and A&E:

Investigator: “Listen, I think you know a lot more than what you’re telling me”

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Murray: “I don’t know, I mean, he could be alive and well somewhere right now. He could be on vacation for all I know. I mean, he hasn’t told me anything. He hasn’t told y’all anything, so therefore we all don’t know.”

Investigator: “Steven. Steven, come on now.”

JSO said Chapman “used verbal tactics which led to a confession and the location of the victim’s body.”


Action News Jax told you when Fr. Rene was reported missing on Tuesday, April 12, 2016, after he hadn’t been seen or heard from since 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 10, 2016.

Father Rene Robert (Courtesy WJAX-TV)

That Sunday night, Father Rene’s car, a blue Toyota, led authorities on a high-speed chase on Interstate 95 through St. Johns and Duval counties, and authorities lost track of the car in a road construction work site near Interstate 95 and J. Turner Butler Boulevard.

Late Wednesday night, April 13, 2016, Fr. Rene’s car was spotted in Aiken, South Carolina, and then-28-year-old Murray, the suspect in Fr. Rene’s disappearance, was taken into custody early in the morning on Thursday, April 14, 2016. During his time in South Carolina, then-St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar said Murray committed additional crimes such as burglary and taking weapons.

Murray was extradited to Florida and booked into the St. Johns County Jail late at night on Friday, April 15, 2016. Over that weekend (Saturday, April 16 and Sunday, April 17, 2016), a large-scale search for Fr. Rene was conducted on the Westside of Jacksonville. Authorities believe Fr. Rene was trying to help Murray, who had recently gotten out of jail.

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On Monday, April 18, 2016, then-St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar confirmed that a body believed to be that of Fr. Rene was found in Georgia.

During the investigation, SJSO investigators “developed a rapport” with Murray, who led them to “several locations involved in this case to include where a body was found” on Monday, according to a release from SJSO.

Murray later admitted that he killed Fr. Rene and dumped his body in a remote area in Waynesboro, Ga. He was charged with malice murder, and Murray pleaded guilty to the charge. In 2017, he was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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