Trial Date Set for Priest Accused of Killing Nun

By Gerald Robinson [Toledo OH]
August 6, 2004

Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Patrick Foley set a trial date yesterday for the Roman Catholic priest accused of the 1980 murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in the former Mercy Hospital.

The Rev. Gerald Robinson will go on trial for aggravated murder Feb. 22. Judge Foley set the date after discussing the progress made by prosecutors in giving discovery evidence to the priest's team of defense attorneys.

"As far as I am concerned, that is a firm date," Judge Foley said.

Father Robinson, 66, who was not present for the hearing, has pleaded not guilty of choking to death and stabbing Sister Margaret Ann in the hospital.

Her body was found April 5, 1980, in the sacristy of a chapel. She was strangled, then stabbed up to 32 times in what investigators called a ceremonial killing.

A semiretired Toledo diocesan priest, Father Robinson was arrested in April. He pleaded innocent and is out of jail on a $400,000 property bond.

"It's an appropriate trial date considering the facts and circumstances," Gary Cook, an assistant prosecutor, said after the hearing.

The trial is expected to last at least three weeks. Jury selection and the presentation of prosecution witnesses would take about two weeks, with the defense witnesses filling out the remaining week.

Mr. Cook told Judge Foley that results of DNA testing of certain evidence will be completed in about six weeks and given to Father Robinson's attorneys.


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