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Priest convicted of killing nun transferred to hospice unit

Gerald Robinson, 76, suffering from terminal illness

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    Gerald Robinson confers with attorney Rick Kerger.

    The Blade/Dave Zapotosky
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    Gerald Robinson

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Gerald Robinson

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COLUMBUS — A Toledo priest who was convicted of killing a Catholic nun at the former Mercy Hospital has been transferred to the hospice unit of a prison hospital, his attorney and state officials have confirmed.

Gerald Robinson, 76, was moved from the Hocking unit of Southeastern Correctional Institution to the Franklin Medical Center, which has a unit “for inmates suffering from advanced terminal illness,” according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction Web site.

ODRC Spokesman JoEllen Smith confirmed today that Robinson was a patient at the Franklin Medical Center. 

Toledo attorney Rick Kerger, who is representing Robinson in his appeal, said Monday that his client was taken to Franklin Medical Center in Columbus Friday and transferred to Ohio State University Medical Center, where physicians concluded he was “terminal.” He was then moved back to the Franklin Medical Center, which is operated by the ODRC.

“He has a heart problem,” Mr. Kerger said, adding that he last spoke with his client on the telephone a few months ago. “I’ve been trying to find a way to get him a compassionate release, but that’s not allowed for people who have been convicted of murder.”

Robinson was found guilty in 2006 in Lucas County Common Pleas Court of murder for the 1980 slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. He was sentenced to life in prison with parole eligibility after 15 years.

After Robinson lost all of his state appeals, Mr. Kerger last month filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in U.S. District Court on behalf of Robinson. The petition seeks to overturn his conviction and release him from prison.

Mr. Kerger, who said he believes the priest is innocent, said he fears time will run out for Robinson.

“The sad part is obviously if he dies, that ends all of the legal processes,” Mr. Kerger said. “But, for the Christian Catholic priest, he’s going home so he will be vindicated there, not here.”

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