Author Topic: The evil priest  (Read 971 times)


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The evil priest
« on: May 12, 2006, 01:56:11 am »

TOLEDO - The slaying of a Roman Catholic nun in 1980 was sparked by a priest's simmering anger over her domineering ways and not part of a "satanic cult killing," a prosecutor said Wednesday in closing arguments of the priest's trial.

The Rev. Gerald Robinson not only choked and stabbed Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, but he also humiliated her in death, Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor Dean Mandros told jurors.

Robinson stabbed her in the chest in the shape of an upside-down cross, anointed her with her own blood and stripped off her underwear "to degrade her, to mock her, to humiliate her," Mandros said.

"Was this is a satanic cult killing? No," Mandros said. "A man got very angry with a woman. The only difference is that the man wore a white collar, and the woman wore a habit."

Robinson, 68, is accused of killing Sister Pahl while she was preparing the Mercy Hospital chapel the day before Easter in 1980. She was choked and then stabbed 31 times.

Robinson was a chaplain at the hospital and worked closely with Sister Pahl, 71, and presided at her funeral. He was a suspect early in the investigation but was not charged until two years ago.

Robinson faces a mandatory life sentence if convicted of murder. Jurors deliberated for about four hours Wednesday after nine days of testimony. They will resume today.

The defense told jurors that DNA evidence doesn't link Robinson to the crime. The nun's underwear and fingernails had traces of DNA that was likely from a man but not from Robinson, defense attorney John Thebes said.

"It points somewhere else," he said.

The priest's attorneys also questioned the memories of witnesses who said they saw Robinson near the chapel no more than an hour before the nun's body was found inside. Defense attorney Alan Konop said the witnesses gave conflicting accounts of where and when they saw Robinson.

Robinson, who sat in the courtroom wearing a priest's collar, has been solemn throughout the trial. "Do you really think Father Robinson is some sleek killer?" Konop said. "Or is he a mild, meek man?"

Prosecutors earlier said the killing was steeped in ritualism because of the pattern of the nun's wounds. A Roman Catholic priest who is an expert on the occult testified last week that inverted crosses have been used in satanic worship and could have been intended to mock God.

But Mandros suggested Wednesday that Robinson's relationship with the nun was strained and that she was a dominating, strict figure and that Robinson had a reached a breaking point with her.

"He had had enough. He had taken a lot, but he was not going to take any more," Mandros said.

He also said Sister Pahl had been upset "to the point of tears" over the shortening of Good Friday services. It wasn't clear from testimony if Robinson or another priest conducted the services.

Mandros told jurors that Robinson lied to investigators in 1980 and two years ago just after his arrest.

Robinson made up a story that someone else confessed to the crime in 1980 and later admitted that never happened, according to earlier testimony. He also lied when he said he didn't have keys to the chapel and about whether he locked his room where police found a sword-shaped letter opener, Mandros said.

Prosecutors believe the letter opener was the murder weapon. Prosecution witnesses linked the letter opener with the nun's wounds and bloodstains found on the altar cloth that covered her body.

Dr. Henry Lee, a forensic expert featured in many high-profile trials, testified that a bloodstain on the altar cloth had similar characteristics to the shape of a medallion on the letter opener. The faint stain showed what looked like the U.S. Capitol, he said.

Thebes argued that the stain could have been many things, including the back of a nickel.

Defense attorneys also used their closing arguments to attack what they called shoddy police work. Konop said police did not test for fingerprints in the chapel and did little work to find trace evidence, such as blood and hair, in other areas of the hospital.

Konop also said that police arrested Robinson in 2004 before they had completed scientific testing of the evidence because they were worried that details of the reopened case would be leaked to the media.

"With an incomplete investigation, they arrest him," Konop said. "They have committed themselves to arresting a priest for the murder of a nun and they can't turn back. They arrest and ask questions later."

Thebes suggested Sister Pahl was attacked by someone who entered the chapel, strangled her and stabbed her using a pair of scissors that she used in the chapel but were never found.
The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he did not exist. - Charles Baudelaire (French and monstrous poet).