Crime History: Man breaks into chapel, fatally beats nuns

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Local,Crime,Scott McCabe

On this day, Jan. 27, in 1996, a mentally ill man broke into a convent in Maine, stabbing and beating four nuns. Three of them died.

Mark Bechard, 37, who dreamed of becoming a Catholic priest, burst through the doors of the chapel of Servants of the Blessed Sacrament and went on a rampage.

When police officers stopped him, Bechard was standing over one bloodied nun with a statue of the Virgin Mary in his hand.

Killed were Mother Superior Edna Mary Cardozo, 68, and Sister Marie Julien Fortin, 67.

Another nun survived the attack but later died from her injuries. The fourth victim was left paralyzed on her right side.

Bechard was found not criminally responsible because of mental illness and was committed to a state psychiatric hospital.

- Scott McCabe

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