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'There's a lot of anger': Family mourning death of Louisville mother as neighbor is charged with murder

James Peters, a registered sex offender, was arraigned Thursday morning and his bond was set at $1 million. He is charged with Mary Solinger's death.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A convicted sex offender accused of sexually assaulting and strangling a Louisville mother was arrested and is charged with her murder, according to police.

James Peters was arraigned Thursday morning and his bond was set at $1 million.

Police said the victim, 50-year-old Mary ‘Nikki’ Solinger, lived next door to Peters in Crescent Hill.

WHAS11 sat down with Solinger's sister-in-law who said she was a caring mother of three.

"Nikki was probably one of the kindest people you could ever meet,” Amy Solinger Porco said. "Wonderful person - if you never met her, you don't know what you're missing."

Credit: Amy Solinger Porco
Mary 'Nikki' Solinger

Having grown up together, those great memories will never fade, but neither will the grief. At least not for now.

LMPD said Solinger was killed in her Crescent Hill home on April 18, found strangled with signs of sexual abuse.

Solinger Porco said Mary's husband found her dead.

"It just didn't seem real. He was so upset,” she said. “I couldn't even understand what he was saying. My heart just dropped."

Police said evidence was collected and tested, and came back positive with DNA from 66-year-old Peters; he had previously been charged with first-degree rape in Nelson County.

LMPD’s arrest citation for Peters said Solinger’s blood was also found on his clothing. He was arrested Thursday.

Solinger Porco said there's some relief, but the pain is still there.

"There's a lot of anger,” she said. "For her daughters to know how she spent the last couple minutes on this earth is just something they are never going to be able to get over."

But she said she will be there for them, and the family will be there for each other as they always are.

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