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Published: Saturday, 12/10/2005

Tape of priest charged in nun's death sought

Pahl, Robinson Pahl, Robinson

An audio-taped interview that Toledo police conducted with the Rev. Gerald Robinson nearly 25 years ago in investigating the slaying of a local nun are among the records being sought by attorneys for the priest.

Father Robinson is accused of fatally stabbing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in the chapel of Mercy Hospital near downtown Toledo. A trial is scheduled to begin April 17 in Lucas County Common Pleas Court.

Attorneys yesterday asked Judge Thomas Osowik to compel prosecutors to provide them with recordings of the police interview with Father Robinson that was made after Sister Margaret Ann's death on April 5, 1980.

The motion filed by the attorneys also asks the court to provide the affidavit for a search warrant that they believe police served in 1981 at the home of a man who was questioned in connection with the case.

Also requested were "all investigation, police reports, statements, and other evidence" involving the purported testimony of Sister Ann-Marie Borgess, a Notre Dame nun who could appear as a witness in Father Robinson's trial.

Dean Mandros, who is among the assistant county prosecutors working on the case, declined to comment on the request, honoring a gag order imposed by the court.

Yesterday was the deadline that had been set by Judge Osowik for the attorneys to file motions on nonforensic evidence in the case.

Father Robinson emerged early as a suspect, but he wasn't indicted until last year after police reopened the investigation as a cold case.

A memorandum filed with the motion said retired Toledo police Detective Art Marx questioned Father Robinson in April, 1980, and prosecutors indicated that the recording of the interview disappeared.

According to the court record, prosecutors intend to call Mr. Marx as a witness to testify about the interview.

The priest's attorneys, John Thebes and Alan Konop, refused to comment, also citing the gag order.

However, their motion said that the audiotape, the affidavit, and the information regarding Sister Ann-Marie could be useful in their defense of Father Robinson.

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