Monday, April 17, 2006

A Murder in Toledo

Sometimes we get no pleasure in writing this blog — and this is one of those days.

Today, jury selection will begin in Toledo, OH, in the murder trial of a man accused of strangling and stabbing to death a local nun some 26 years ago.

On April 5, 1980 — the day before Easter that year — 71-year-old Sister Margaret Ann Pahl’s body was found in the sacristy of the chapel at Mercy Hospital.

She had been strangled and stabbed at least 30 times. And though she hadn’t been raped, her body and clothing had been positioned in such a way to make it look like she’d been sexually assaulted. She was found covered with a white altar cloth.

The case remained cold until a tipster came forward in 2003 with information that ultimate lead to an arrest in the case.

Who is now on trial accused of murdering the nun?

A) Dennis Rader, who confessed last year to being the infamous BTK killer
B) Joshua O’Connor, now an adult, who was 14 at the time of the murder and who is believed to have been sexually abused by a local parish priest as a youngster
C) Tyrel Porter, a church congregant who it is believed was caught stealing cash out of the Church’s donation box by the nun
D) Father Gerald Robinson, a local priest who helped preside over Pahl’s funeral Mass

D) Father Gerald Robinson, now 67, who was 41 at the time of the killing.

Police suspected Robinson early on, but other than finding a letter opener in his apartment that seemed to match Pahl’s stab wounds, didn’t have enough evidence to charge him with the crime.

Then in 2003 an unidentified woman came forward and said that Father Robinson was part of a group of priests who sexually molested her and forced her to take part in unspecified rituals.

Robinson is on leave from the church and out on bail. His trial starts today.


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