Priest convicted in nun’s murder loses appeal

Gerald Robinson, the Roman Catholic priest convicted of killing a nun inside an Ohio hospital chapel a day before Easter in 1980, won’t get a new trial.

The Associated Press says a judge ruled last Monday that police reports discovered after the priest’s trial didn’t contain any new information that would have changed the outcome:

It has been more than five years since jurors convicted the Rev. Gerald Robinson of stabbing and strangling Sister Margaret Ann Pahl at Mercy Hospital in Toledo where both worked.

The stab wounds on Pahl’s chest were in the shape of an upside down cross and blood was smeared on her forehead, investigators said.

Robinson was the hospital chaplain and presided at the nun’s funeral. He emerged as a suspect when police found a sword-shaped letter opener in his desk drawer two weeks after the killing. But he wasn’t charged until 24 years later after investigators reopened the case.

Now 73, he remains a priest but has been barred from ministry, and is serving a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.

Church historians say it’s the only documented case of a Catholic priest killing a nun.

January, 2010 coverage of Robinson’s appeal

According to The Toledo Blade

[Robinson] contended in an amended petition for post-conviction relief that police reports from the 1980 investigation that were misfiled and discovered by chance in 2009 could have helped his case in 2006.In Monday’s ruling, Judge Zmuda rejected that claim, saying the 136 documents would have added nothing of significance to the trial.

“Had counsel known of the additional documents, they would have merely possessed more of the same type of information, already disclosed and considered preparing for trial,” Judge Zmuda wrote.

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