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PRIEST-NUN SLAYING
Lawyer: No further steps to release convicted killer priest who asked to die in Ohio hometown

Reported by: Associated Press
Reported: Thursday, July 3, 2014 5:07 PM EDT
TOLEDO, Ohio


A defense lawyer won't take further steps seeking to release a dying Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of killing a nun in 1980 and hoped to spend his final days in his Ohio hometown.

Attorney Richard Kerger had previously told a federal judge the Rev. Gerald Robinson has been in a Columbus prison hospice unit since the end of May after suffering a heart attack and wants to die in Toledo. He asked the court to release Robinson to the care of relatives.

The judge rejected the request Thursday, concluding his court doesn't have jurisdiction to grant such compassionate release. He says Robinson isn't eligible for such relief under federal law and Ohio law on the issue excludes prisoners serving time for murder.

Kerger says he understands the decision.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

A federal court has denied a request from a dying Roman Catholic priest who was convicted of killing a nun in 1980 and hoped to spend his final days in his Ohio hometown.

The Rev. Gerald Robinson's attorney previously told the court the priest has been in a Columbus prison hospice unit since the end of May after suffering a heart attack and wants to die in Toledo. They asked the court to release Robinson to the care of his brother and sister-in-law.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin rejected the request Wednesday, concluding his court doesn't have jurisdiction to grant such compassionate release. Gwin's ruling said that Robinson isn't eligible for such relief under applicable federal law.

A message seeking comment was left for Robinson's attorney, Richard Kerger, who has indicated Robinson is expected to live for only a month or two more.

Ohio law does not allow a convicted murderer who is not yet eligible for parole to be released for care to ease pain and suffering. Gov. John Kasich's office has said there is nothing it can do.

Robinson was convicted in 2006 of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl during Easter weekend at a Toledo hospital where they worked. He is serving a sentence of 15 years to life in prison and maintains his innocence.

Church historians have called it the only documented case of a Catholic priest killing a nun. Robinson wasn't arrested until 24 years after Pahl was found stabbed and strangled. Prosecutors blamed the murder on Robinson's simmering anger over Pahl's domineering ways and described their relationship as strained.










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