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Published: Friday, 7/4/2014 - Updated: 1 year ago

Federal judge rejects final bid to release Robinson

Robinson Robinson
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Former Toledo priest and convicted murderer Gerald Robinson will live out his days in a prison hospital.

A federal court judge Thursday denied his motion for a compassionate release. His attorney said Robinson, 76, has no other options.

“I have tried everything that seemed reasonably available, and unfortunately, there is nothing else,” his attorney, Rick Kerger, said.

Robinson was convicted of murder in 2006 in Lucas County Common Pleas Court for the 1980 slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl at the former Mercy Hospital chapel. He is now serving a life sentence with parole eligibility after 15 years.

On June 2, Mr. Kerger sent a letter to Gov. John Kasich asking that Robinson be released from custody after he suffered a heart attack and was told his condition was terminal. The governor’s office informed him the next day that Robinson was not eligible for release under a state law governing the release of dying inmates.

Mr. Kerger then sought a compassionate release in U.S. District Court, but Judge James S. Gwin in Cleveland denied the petition, saying the court did not have jurisdiction in the matter. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office had opposed Robinson’s release, writing in its response that Robinson committed “a particularly gruesome crime” and was not eligible for release.

Although Mr. Kerger wrote in his initial motion that Robinson could be released either to his brother in Toledo or the Little Sisters of the Poor Sacred Heart Home in Oregon, he later amended his petition saying the sisters had not agreed to take Robinson as a patient. Robinson is in a hospice unit at Franklin Medical Center, a Columbus hospital run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

— Jennifer Feehan

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