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Published: Thursday, 7/8/2004

Coroner has viewed nun's exhumed body

The body of a Sisters of Mercy nun who was slain 24 years ago in the sacristy of a chapel in the former Mercy Hospital was exhumed more than a month ago and viewed by a Lucas County deputy coroner.

Sister Margaret Ann Pahl's family consented that police and prosecutors could exhume her body from the St. Bernardine cemetery in Fremont where the local nuns of her order are buried, Toledo police Sgt. Steve Forrester said yesterday.

He said her body was exhumed for less than a week and viewed by Dr. Diane Barnett, a deputy coroner who is a member of the Lucas County Cold Case Task Force.

He said a current forensic pathologist with the coroner's office had not viewed the body, which was examined after the murder by a forensic pathologist who now is deceased.

The Rev. Gerald Robinson, one of two Roman Catholic priests who said Sister Margaret Ann's funeral Mass, was indicted in May for the April 5, 1980, aggravated murder of the 71-year-old nun. He was arrested in April after police reopened the case. Sister Margaret Ann had been strangled and stabbed repeatedly.

Nuns from her order participated in a religious ceremony when her body was re-interred, Sergeant Forrester said.

He declined to say whether any evidence was recovered but said Father Robinson's attorneys are aware the nun's body was exhumed.

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