Reverend Gerald Robinson (born April 14, 1938) is a retired Roman Catholic priest. On May 11, 2006 he was convicted of the murder of a nun, Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, on Holy Saturday, April 5, 1980. On July 11, 2008, Ohio's Sixth District Court of Appeals reaffirmed his conviction. He is currently seeking to have his case taken to the Ohio Supreme Court.
Murder of Pahl
In 1980 Father Robinson was the chaplain at the Toledo Mercy Hospital in Toledo, Ohio where he ministered to the sick and terminally ill. Sister Pahl was the caretaker of the chapel.
Robinson was convicted of strangling and stabbing Pahl, who was 71 at the time, in the sacristy of a chapel of the hospital where they worked together. The priest presided at her funeral Mass four days after her death. Pahl was stabbed 31 times, including nine times in what prosecutors contended was the shape of an inverted cross, leading investigators to believe the slaying was intended to humiliate Pahl in death. Pahl was found covered in an altar cloth, her clothes and body arranged to suggest she had been sexually assaulted, although this was not clear.
Forensic tests indicated that a sword-shaped letter opener found in Robinson's apartment was not inconsistent with the weapon that inflicted the wounds; in the words of the prosecutor's expert, it could "not be ruled out." The tip of the opener fit a wound in the jaw of the nun's exhumed body "like a key in a lock," according to prosecutors.
Male DNA was found underneath the sister's fingernails and on her underwear, which did not match the DNA of Robinson. Prosecutors argued that the DNA was an "artifact," in other words it must have come from an unrelated source after the murder.
Bloodstains found on the altar cloth were also consistent with the shape of the letter opener, although one prosecution witness also conceded that the stains appeared to match a pair of scissors which were missing from the scene. Robinson was questioned about the crime in 1980, but was not charged. The case remained unsolved, with no new leads, until 2003 when police received a letter from a woman who claimed that Robinson had sexually abused her when she was a child in a series of Satanic ritual abuse that also involved human sacrifice.
The case shocked parishioners in the Toledo Catholic community. The case against Robinson went to trial on April 24, 2006. Robinson was found guilty on all counts on May 11, 2006. This ruling marks the second time that a Catholic priest has been convicted of a homicide in the United States. Hans Schmidt was the first.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider Robinson's appeal in October 2009.
- Court TV's complete coverage of Gerald Robinson murder case
- Pahl murder on Crimelibrary.com
- 13ABC - Father Robinson murder trial
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Gerald Robinson (priest). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|