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Convicted priest Gerald Robinson dies in prison hospital

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Gerald Robinson

The Blade
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Father Gerald Robinson, the former Toledo priest convicted of brutally killing a nun, died early today in a prison hospital, his attorney said.

Robinson‘s death comes one day after a federal court judge denied his plea to be released from prison to live out his final days.

The priest was serving 15 years to life in prison for the 1980 slaying of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.

He suffered a heart attack around Memorial Day and was told he had 30 to 60 days to live.

Rick Kerger, Robinson‘s attorney, said he spoke with his client Thursday afternoon to share the court‘‍s ruling.

“He was having a hard time understanding me, so I knew it was getting close,” Mr. Kerger said. “It‘s unfortunate we couldn‘t finish out the federal case, I think it would have had a different ending.‍‍”

Robinson, 76, died at 4:15 a.m. at Franklin Medical ‍Center, a Columbus hospital run by the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction. He was given last rites about a month ago, after finding out his condition was terminal, Mr. Kerger said.

Robinson was found guilty of murder in 2006 by a Lucas County Common Pleas Court jury for the slaying, which was in the sacristy of the former Mercy Hospital chapel.

Mr. Kerger, filed a petition for equitable relief on June 27 in U.S. District Court in Cleveland.

In Thursday‘s‍ ruling, U.S. District Court Judge James S. Gwin wrote in his order that the federal court did not have jurisdiction to grant Robinson’s motion for a compassionate release. He said state law allows Ohio’s governor to order that an inmate be released on compassionate grounds, although Robinson was not eligible under state law because it excludes those convicted of murder. A previous plea to Gov. John Kasich was denied on that ground.

The Ohio Attorney General’‍s Office wrote in its response to Robinson‘‍s request that he had committed “a particularly gruesome crime.”

“I‘m sorry he passed, and I‘ll miss him, but he‘s in a better place now,” Mr. Kerger said. “With his faith, he‘ll be fine.”‍‍‍‍‍

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