A 25-year-old man suspected in the mutilation death of one nun, the abduction of another and the killing of his father in Georgia was arrested early yesterday in a Norfolk Burger King after an employee recognized him and tripped a silent alarm to summon police, officials said.
As police raced to the already closed fast-food restaurant about 1:45 a.m. yesterday, the Burger King employee, who was doing maintenance, made small talk with suspect Adrian Robinson and gave him something to eat to keep him from leaving, authorities said.
In a matter of minutes, Norfolk police had Robinson in custody, easing fears that the violence that began in a small Georgia town Sunday might continue.
"Our dispatcher was giddy with excitement and relief," said police spokesman Chris Amos. "It would be like if the Marines rolled into Baghdad without having to fire a shot."
Robinson was charged in the abduction and murder of Sister Philomena Fogarty, 62, and the abduction of her roommate, Sister Lucie Kristofik, 72, in Hamilton, Ga. He has also been charged in the death of his father, Henry, 56, whom he allegedly shot 16 times.
There was palpable relief yesterday in Harris County, Ga., where Fogarty had dedicated her life to helping the poor, said Dan Colberg, the police chief in Hamilton, about 60 miles south of Atlanta. Fogarty operated a thrift shop where every item was priced at $1, Colberg said, and used the money to host large Thanksgiving dinners for the needy.
"She was like the Mother Teresa of Harris County," Colberg said.
He said Kristofik has not yet returned home and is receiving counseling.
Local and federal law enforcement officials are still investigating the incidents Sunday in Georgia. Norfolk police got a call from an employee at the Hampton Inn two days later, saying a woman, Kristofik, was alleging that she and another nun, Fogarty, had been bound and gagged and brought to the motel in Virginia.
After confirming her story, Norfolk police began searching for Fogarty's gray Chevy Lumina, which Robinson allegedly used to flee Georgia after he abducted the women from the double-wide trailer they shared. About 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, police spotted the car and pursued it to a marshy area, where Robinson bolted from the vehicle and eluded police.
About the same time, a security guard in nearby Virginia Beach made a grim discovery in a parking lot. In a sleeping bag, he found a decapitated body that turned out to be Fogarty's. The rest of her body was found in the Chevy Lumina, police said.
The search for Robinson intensified, and the Burger King employee saw photographs that police had distributed throughout Norfolk and in the media.
Robinson is now in the Norfolk city jail.