Thursday, May 11, 2006

The case will be appealed...

Linked article above, also worth pointing out as was earlier by one commenter who wrote as to what Father Robinson said that the Prosecution did not enhance, that he heard on Court Tv is written in this article:

Mr. Thebes said that what Robinson said was that Sister Margaret Ann knew the priest “didn’t do this. Sister won’t you please come through for me?”

The article contains alot more detail so perhaps this is far from being over.

And CNN takes the inaudible comments and gets them wrong.

A quick thank you...

Since the trial is now over, after the next few days of coverage there will probably not be any new posts/discussion. Yet I will leave the blog up for anyone who later wants to read the information that has been accumulated here.

I want to thank all of you who have commented, who have emailed me and have stopped by to visit this blog.

I'd also like to thank Mike who has another excellent local blog, History Mike's Musing for promoting what I was trying to do here as well as 13ABC for linking my blog as a information resource and also thank Merle Dech for reading here as well as commenting. As he stated in the comments he will be featured on Fox 36 at both 4:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m.

If there is an appeal and it ends up being successful? Then we will of course have more to talk about in the future. I know many of you have waited to discuss your feelings/speculation until the trial was over and you are most welcome to do so.

I know this is not the verdict many of you hoped for as well as I also know this is the verdict many others did want. I also thank all of you for discussing these differences of opinion in an admirable manner. I still hope we do eventually get all of the answers that many of us still want to know. For those of you who do pray, I'd suggest not just praying for Father Robinson but that it be done for our whole community, that not only will there be truth but healing.

Father Robinson found guilty

The jury did not take much time in deliberating - however that is their verdict.

Cheering and applause broke out when this was announced outside of the courtroom.


Earlier than expected, but that is the verdict.

Jury Watch begins

I don't think anyone expected the Jury to make a decision last night, we also knew that Judge Thomas Osowik had previously made it clear that he does not allow juries to go past 8:00 p.m. while in deliberation.

So far we know the Jury has requested the witness list and a DVD player, it is assumed so that they can watch Father Robinson's two hour interrogation session with Toledo police. The Jury has been reported as consisting of 7 women and 4 men.

David Yonke has his impressions of yesterday from the Toledo Blade.

13ABC has their report on yesterday; WTOL has theirs; NBC24 has a short report and Fox 36 also has a brief summary. Merle was on last night at ten but that video is not yet on their website.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Closing Arguments...

Court is on a short recess, I know there will be several links that will be out there that will have these closing arguments on video so they can be either viewed if you missed them or reviewed.

I've been asked via email and in older comments if there is an email alert system for a jury verdict.

Not that I am aware of, however WTOL has a notification system for breaking news. As does 13ABC. NBC24 also has a breaking news email/desktop service.

UPDATE: The case is now in the hands of the jury and according to what the Judge said yesterday, he will only allow them to deliberate until 8:00 p.m. each day. Most legal experts are predicting the jury will deliberate several days.

Closing arguments today

Several of the local media is streaming this live thru their websites. I'll still suggest 13ABC or Court Tv Extra, they've both so far provided the best video coverage of this trial.

Thank you to 13ABC for linking my blog, I didn't see that until this morning.

As reported there could be possibly one rebuttal witness then closing arguments.

I'll open up a thread after closing arguments to discuss those and how you think the trial went.

So far the "unoffical" Lisa Renee poll of people here, thru emails and discussion off the blog, the majority of people are predicting a hung jury as the outcome.

David Yonke's article from this morning's Blade, he was also on NBC24 last evening.

WTOL Also plans to carry the live stream of closing arguments as stated above.

Fox 36 has some new video since my last visit which includes a legal analysis by a favorite of the readers of this blog, Merle Dech.

Court TV also has a written article on Monday's testimony.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Monday's notes...

Some notes I made in watching this morning's testimony:

It appears the Prosecution is trying to imply that the former Chief Detective on the case helped to protect Father Robinson from being charged because of his being Catholic and his relationship with the diocese at the time of the murder.

A blonde pubic hair found at the crime scene which I do not believe the prosecution mentioned before was discussed. Testing showed that Father Robinson could not be the person that the public hair came from.

More on the fingernail clippings, the Prosecution has suggested the DNA evidence could have come from anyone who had contact with Sister on the day of the murder. Yet that does and did raise the possibility that it was also from the murderer. Either way, the testing shows it was from a male and the items tested that had a large enough sample ruled out Father Robinson or any biological relatives of him.

Valid questions to remain as to how the fingernail clippings were collected, it's important to remember at the time of the murder DNA was not available. Considering though when the tests were ordered later, the decision to use all of the nails rather than trying to do individual testing and consuming all of the sample does raise some interesting questions.

As an additional update: WTOL just reported that Dr. Kathy Reichs is expected to testify this afternoon. Court resumes at 1:00 p.m.

Second update 1:55 p.m.:

Dr. Reichs testified, notes from that testimony:

Dr. Reich's testified that there is photographic evidence that the penetration wound in the jaw wound was changed possibly after the letter opener was put in which to her suggests that it was not a fit prior. She showed the jury blown up photos of before the letter opener was inserted and after the letter opener was inserted.

There is also some question as to differences in how that particular wound was created. This stems from written reports from the initial time of the murder versus the experts called to testify for the prosecution.

It appears the main focus of having her present is to point out that this evidence was potentially compromised. The prosecution focused on why she did not physically examine the mandible. She stated under testimony and under cross that after the letter opener and the casting had been done that there would have been no way for her to determine details on the original "defect" (bone trauma/wound).

Third update; 3:26:

13ABC is reporting:

The defense has rested in the Robinson case. There will not be any testimony tomorrow. Closing arguments are scheduled for Wednesday.

However, what I heard the Judge say was there could be possibly one more witness on Wednesday then closing statements.

NBC24 has their report on today's testimony.

WTOL has theirs.

David Yonke of the Toledo Blade provides his report on today.

Fox 36 did not have an update yet, will add the link to them later.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Start of Defense

13abc's video is not working, it appears that the first witness called by the Defense was Steve Forrester who was a witness for the Prosecution. If that is correct and not some wicked trick by Court TV, it doesn't appear that was a good decision.

More later...

Update: It did later appear that some of the many inconsistencies were pointed out. Especially when the focus was made what was said/written at the time of the murder versus today.

David Yonke's reporting on yesterday.

I think Art Marx's testimony had impact as well as the comparision done with scissors to the wounds:

Mr. Konop asked retired Toledo police Detective David Weinbrecht about a 1980 report he filed that said a pair of scissors was missing from the chapel. The report said informal tests of the scissors showed that they could have been used in the nun’s slaying.

But Detective Weinbrecht pointed to another sentence in the report that said Lucas County’s deputy coroner concluded that “the wounds on the victim’s face were made by a weapon sharper than scissors.”

It's been pointed out by several witnesses that the letter opener is not sharp.

13abc did not do their daily write up as to what happened in the trial.

NBC24 gives us this

Both 13 and 11 news reports have started to speculate if Father Robinson is going to testify.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Prosecution rests...

13ABC covers the details that even those of us who normally watch missed because two of the witnesses did not want to be audio or video recorded.

David Yonke of the Toledo Blade provides his views on how testimony today went.

I'm not sure how today's testimony will be taken by the jury. I think it might have been more believable had Richard Kerner been told at the time that his now ex-wife saw Father Robinson. It would also be a bit more credible if there were statements from that time period that stated what was said but? Now it is up to the Defense and then the jury.

Morning update...

So far it appears several witnesses did not want to be audio or video taped. A witness that was not on the Prosecution's list that did agree to audio/video was the ex-husband of Leslie (Kerr) Kernes who is on the prosecution's witness list.

Brief notes on his testimony (he flew in from Texas to testify)

He stated that Leslie talked to him that night
after the murder had taken place.

Her office was next to the chapel - He stated she
stated she saw a priest near the chapel.

They are divorced - when asked why he felt he needed to come
here to testify this he responded he felt it was his civic duty.
He was not officially suponeoned

Defense - she never mentioned a name?

No - it was around 7:30 a.m. down the hall from
where she worked in the Technology Office.

Prosecuter's office contacted him a year ago.
Tom Ross called him. He knew Father Robinson
had been arrested.

Trial resumes today after two day delay

More information listed at the above link. Updates later in the day and it is being suggested by local media that the prosecution could rest their case against Father Gerald Robinson by the end of the day.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Questions from looking at what has been reported.

Going back to articles written immediately after the murder of Sister Margaret Ann and even several articles from 2004/2005 things that have been reported in the media have not yet been a part of the trial.

Starting with the older articles, and continuing into 2004 when Father Robinson was charged with the murder it was stated that there had been a sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault. It also was stated at the time of the murder that it was done with a "small knife" and that not only had the body been moved but blood had been cleaned up and it was felt that any physical evidence was destroyed by the presence of those who discovered her body and medical staff called in when Sister Margaret Ann was found. That would mean photos taken were not an accurate representation of the time of the murder and that the altar cloths also could have picked up blood that would not be an accurate representation. Blood that ended up on either one of the altar cloths tested could have come from the floor, from being stepped on, etc.

Moving into 2004, this reaction as printed in the Toledo Blade on April 24, 2004:

"I'll be damned," said Ray Vetter, a retired deputy Toledo police chief who was in charge of the detective bureau, after hearing about the arrest.

He said he has mixed feelings about Father Robinson's arrest, partially because he is Catholic.

"I'm happy an arrest was made. If he's the right man, I hope they get a conviction," he said. "I hope they have more evidence than we had."

Do they have more evidence? Everything seems to hinge on the blood transfer evidence linked to the letter opener which we already know as clearly stated shortly after the murder was not what you could call a "secured" crime scene.

Then the witness report as stated in May of 2004 in the Toledo Blade:

A resident nursing student at Mercy, Mrs. Raszka had worked a double shift from 3 p.m. Good Friday until about 7:30 a.m. Holy Saturday, at which time she took an elevator to the hospital basement to punch her time card, then rode the elevator back to the first floor and headed for the chapel.

As she walked down the hallway, an office door popped open and a man she did not recognize stepped out.

Two days later, Mrs. Raszka described him to police, saying he was a good-looking, clean-shaven, slim white male, about 5-foot-8 or 5-foot-9, between 24 and 30 years old, with collar-length blond hair.

Who was this mystery man and who did police interview and perform a search warrant on in 1981 as a suspect for this murder?

We know the reason this case was reopened was the claim of a woman seeking compensation for counseling expenses. A Toledo Blade report done on April 21, 2005 concerns the filing of a civil lawsuit which names:

Father Robinson, who is scheduled to go on trial in October for the aggravated murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl; Gerald Mazuchowski, a former lay minister; the diocese; St. Adalbert Parish; the Oblates of St. Francis De Sales, Inc., and fifteen "John Does" were named as defendants. We also know that Bill Frogameni's earlier article also lists former priest Chet Warren as one of the fifteen "John Does".

For those of us who have followed the "ritual" portion of some of this case; we know the additional claim of Satanic ritual is based on rumors surrounding two things, the victim claiming that her mother was a close friend of Father Robinson and Mr. Mazuchowski and that her mother at the time was becoming a High Priestess of Satan. Others who follow local Witchcraft lore have made an attempt to connect this to Lady Circe, who claimed to be a Witch and was the founder of the Sisterhood & Brotherhood of the Old Religion. There is a difference between Witchcraft and Satanism, however most people seem to have the Hollywood image of both that keeps some of these rumors alive this many years later.

We don't know if anything has come of the criminal investigation into the claims made that resulted in the civil suit and Father Robinson being charged. That has never been revealed, logic would dictate if there was evidence that Father Robinson or any of the other men known or unknown had participated in this activity it would have resulted in additional criminal charges.

Will the differences in what was reported in the past and what is being presented today be reconciled? That remains to be seen as this trial progresses. While there are those who believe Father Robinson is guilty and those who believe he is innocent, given the basis of this case so far I think even if there is a conviction there will still be doubt. Like most circumstancial murder cases, unless someone comes forward with a confession. We may never know, regardless of the outcome.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Today's trial updates

David Yonke's update that I have to take issue with a part of it.

In reporting the testimony of Father Grob:

He also testified that the seal of confession is held so sacred by the Roman Catholic Church that a priest who reveals anything told to him by a penitent is automatically excommunicated.

I do not feel that is not an accurate representation of the testimony or Canon Law. Father Robinson did not directly name an individual or give identifying information. What he did was a violation of Canon Law and could have made him liable for punishment but not automatic excommunication. Father Grob even made this clarification when asked by the Defense.

It was interesting to see what portions of the almost two hour video of Father Robinson was selected by the various news channels. The "smirking" accusation seemed to be the top played as well as the point where it appears Father Robinson was praying when he was left alone in the interrogation room while the video continued to be taped. I don't know how that tape will affect the jury but I found it to probably be more beneficial to the defense. Note to anyone questioned by the police, smarter move seems to be to ask for an attorney.

I'm not sure if Mr. Konop's brusque almost rude questioning of the Toledo police detectives is going to win him points with the jury. Sometimes I think he goes a bit too far but then I'm not a legal expert. Anyone who agrees/disagrees I'd be interested on your take on that.

News articles from the time of the murder

If you are interested in reading the articles from the Toledo Blade during that time period, they have been scanned and uploaded to photobucket. You are welcome to save the images for your own use but please don't link them elsewhere.

The online archives for articles from the Toledo Blade only goes back to 1997 which is why it's not possible to link directly to these articles.

Sunday April 6 part one

Sunday April 6 part two

Monday April 7 part one

Monday April 7 part two

What is different from the articles written in April of 1980, and the trial information is it was claimed by the corner Dr. Harry Mignerey, on April 7, 1980 that Sister Margaret Ann Pahl had been sexually molested. It also is stated the reason police felt there was no physical evidence was the number of people who were at the crime scene before the police arrived had "probably obliterated physical evidence".

Update...additional articles:

Tuesday April 8 part one

Tuesday April 8 part two

Wed April 9

As a parent...

I have to interject a personal comment here, while the lawyers are in chambers the Court TV extra video is showing what appears to be three high school age students, two boys in white shirts and one girl with short dark hair and glasses wearing a dark blue sweater. This is a murder trial, not a place to chew gum, mess around and place bare feet up against the railing. If I had the ability to do a screen capture of the video? I'd place the picture of the three of them, including the numerous times she placed her bare feet up against the railing up so that perhaps a parent could be able to id their child.

While I'd love to be able to attend, I'm not sure if I would let one of mine attend and if so I would at least make sure they behaved with the proper courtroom decorum.

I have to wonder where the Court room Bailiff is...

Expert suggests "just google it"

The expert for the prosecution on rituals suggested that people just "google inverted cross" as a part of his testimony. There was an objection made by the defense that was sustained by the judge, yet I found it pretty ironic given the jury probably isn't supposed to google anything related to the trial.

But we aren't jury members, so let's take a quick look at what happens when you do as suggested:

Number one: Antichrist SlideshowThis inverted cross image comes from, BloodWulfs Book : ChaosLord . ... INVERTED CROSS: Represents Satanism and its mockery of Christ

Number two: Satanism Minor TopicsDiscrimination and Prejudice; Shemhamphorash; The Inverted Cross. The Inverted Cross. The inverted cross was not invented or first used by Satanists.

Number three: John Paul II and His Inverted CrossThe claim has been made that the inverted cross is a Roman Catholic symbol which ... Editor: Steve Van Nattan-- The inverted cross is NOT Christian at all.

Number four: What can you tell me of the inverted cross?It's commonly believed that an inverted Cross is the symbol of Satan, ... When someone wears the inverted Cross, they're making a statement as being humble

Number five: JP2 & the "Inverted Cross" ChairThere is another meaning for the Inverted Cross, one that is thoroughly Christian. ... (Note the "inverted cross" of keys at the upper left of their page.

Unless I'm misunderstanding the testimony, which I will re-watch when it's made available, I don't think google makes clear what was stated. Regardless, that is how google listed the top five search results for "inverted cross" as of ten minutes ago.