Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ohio Supreme Court declines to hear Robinson's appeal in murder conviction

The Ohio Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal of Gerald Robinson, the Catholic priest convicted in 2006 of murdering a nun nearly 30 years ago.

In a brief notation released Wednesday, the high court listed the case under the heading, "Appeals not accepted for review." Justice Paul Pfeifer dissented with the decision and Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger recused herself. There was no explanation given by either justice for their decisions.

Robinson, now 70, was arrested in April, 2004, and convicted by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury on May 11, 2006. The Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals upheld the conviction in July.

Defense attorneys John Donahue and Richard Kerger contended in their 122-page motion filed with the Ohio Supreme Court in August that Robinson's case raises substantial constitutional questions, mainly because of the time lapse between the nun's murder and the priest's arrest.

In their response filed in September, prosecutors said that Robinson "received a fair trial and justice was done" in Common Pleas Court and that the appellate court "properly and fairly" upheld the conviction in its July 11 decision.

Police who conducted the investigation in 1980 testified in the 2006 trial that within a few days of Sister Margaret Ann's murder, Robinson was their only suspect. But one high-ranking police official said there was not enough evidence to convict the priest, so no charges were filed.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Conviction reaffirmed

As reported in the Toledo Blade, Toledo Catholic priest Gerald Robinson’s conviction reaffirmed:
The three-judge panel, in a 95-page ruling, meticulously reviewed and rejected a litany of claims made by Robinson’s attorneys, including ineffective defense counsel, a lack of DNA evidence, injecting Satanism into the trial as a possible motive for the murder, and the loss of evidence and key witnesses over the years.

You can read the 95 page ruling here directly from the Court of Appeals.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Attorneys file to overturn conviction...

This warranted an update to the site, Attorneys file to free priest charged with nun's murder. It's being suggested that evidence was withheld and that there could be another suspect for the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. The suggested killer by the new defense team is the now deceased Rev. Jerome Swiatecki.

Some of this was speculated by trial watchers during the initial trial, especially related to this information:
One such deceased witness was Dr. Renate Fazekas, former Lucas County forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on Sister Margaret Ann on April 5, 1980, and said the nun likely had been strangled by a man with "large hands."

During the trial, Father Swiatecki was described as having been about 6 feet tall and 250 pounds, while Robinson was described as 5 feet, 7 inches and 160 pounds in 1980.