Two convicted felons have been charged with capital murder in last month's stabbing death of a disabled Orange Grove woman, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd said Thursday.
The March 5 murder of Donna Slater, 46, occurred during an armed robbery, investigators said.
Arrested were Johnny Lee Townsend
, 44, Victor Street, Pascagoula, and Joe Anthony Loggins
, 41, Meridian Street, Moss Point.
"We have a very strong case," said Byrd. "There's no doubt in my mind that we have the right guys."
Townsend and Loggins were denied bond
during an appearance in Jackson County Court and booked into the Jackson County Adult Detention Center.
Townsend knew Slater, because his girlfriend had previously worked at her house as part of a home health care service
, said Lt. Ken McClenic.
Family members have said Slater had spina bifida and used an electric wheelchair. McClenic said only Slater's purse was taken. It was later recovered on Old Stage Road.
"He may have intended on taking more stuff, but once you kill a lady, you're not going to stick around to take a lot of stuff," McClenic said.
Capt. Mick Sears said evidence at the scene showed Slater did not die immediately and struggled to get help after she had been stabbed.
Investigators said her parents lived next door.
Townsend previously has been convicted of robbery, a weapons offense, grand larceny, burglary of a residence, armed robbery, possession of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance within a facility.
Records show Townsend was released from prison in July after serving an eight-year sentence, convicted on eight different charges including two counts of armed robbery, two counts of burglary and grand larceny.
Loggins was on active probation at the time of his arrest. Loggins previously has been convicted of multiple counts of uttering forgery, delivering a controlled substance and shoplifting. Loggins was released from prison in July after serving time for possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.
Slater's death was initially thought to be from natural causes, but deputies moving her body noticed a deep wound on her neck, Byrd said.
Authorities determined soon after the killing that robbery was the motive.
On the day Slater was killed, her 14-year-old son found her lying on the kitchen floor of her house.