Priest convicted of killing nun dies in prison

Associated Press Published:

COLUMBUS A Catholic priest convicted of killing a nun inside a chapel a day before Easter 1980 died Friday at a Columbus prison hospice unit, a day after a federal judge refused his request to be released to family care so he could die in his hometown of Toledo.

Robinson, 76, had been serving a sentence of 15 years to life in what church historians have characterized as the only documented case of a Catholic priest killing a nun.

He had been in a hospice unit since May after suffering a heart attack. A federal judge on Thursday refused to release him to relatives.

Robinson was arrested 24 years after the nun's death and was found guilty in 2006 of stabbing and strangling Sister Margaret Ann Pahl at a Toledo hospital where they both worked.

The 71-year-old nun was killed while she was preparing the chapel for Easter services in 1980. She was choked and then stabbed 31 times.He presided at the funeral Mass for her.

Robinson emerged as a suspect when police found a sword-shaped letter opener in his desk drawer two weeks after the killing. He was not charged.

Police arrested him in 2004 after investigators reopened the murder case when a letter surfaced that accused Robinson and other priests of molestation.

He maintained his innocence while losing several attempts to overturn his conviction. He remained a priest after he was convicted, but he was barred from ministry. He told The Columbus Dispatch in an interview three years after the trial that he was stunned by testimony linking him to the murder.

He also said other prisoners called him "Father" and would tell him their sins.

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