FILE – In this photo made Thursday, May 11, 2006, in Toledo, Ohio, the Rev. Gerald Robinson, a Roman Catholic priest, listens as the verdict is read finding him guilty of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. In a motion filed in federal court Friday, June 20, 2014, Robinson is asking a federal judge in Ohio to let him spend his final days at a nursing home run by nuns. Photo: ANDY MORRISON, AP / Pool
TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest convicted of killing a nun at a hospital chapel in 1980 wants a federal judge to let him out of prison so he can spend his final days at an Ohio nursing home run by nuns.The Rev. Gerald Robinson has been in a prison hospice unit in Columbus since the end of May after suffering a heart attack and now wants to die in his hometown of Toledo, his attorney said in a motion filed in federal court Friday.”What is sought is an act of grace for a dying man,” said Richard Kerger, Robinson’s attorney.
Robinson is serving a sentence of 15 years to life in prison after being convicted in 2006 of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl during Easter weekend at a Toledo hospital where they both worked.Church historians have said it is 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, saying their relationship was strained. Robinson, who has maintained his innocence, has only a month or two to live, Kerger said.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, who run a home for the elderly and dying just outside Toledo, have agreed to care for him as have his brother and sister-in-law, Kerger said. The order, whose mission is to serve the elderly poor, routinely takes care of priests at the end of their lives.Robinson is receiving oxygen through tubes to his nose and now has intravenous ports in each arm. “He is in no risk to anyone irrespective of where he is held,” Kerger said.The request is unusual, Kerger acknowledged, adding that Ohio law does not permit 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 told the priest’s attorney that there is nothing it can do.