Killer priest to get church funeral

Last updated 09:27 06/07/2014

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A Roman Catholic priest convicted of stabbing and strangling a nun 34 years ago in a hospital chapel will receive a funeral mass, the church says.

The Reverend Gerald Robinson remained an ordained priest after his conviction and his services will follow the usual protocol for a diocesan priest's funeral, the Reverend Charles Ritter, administrator for the Diocese of Toledo, said in a statement.

Robinson, 76, died on Friday (local time). He had been serving a prison sentence of 15 years to life in what church historians have characterised as the only documented case of a Catholic priest killing a nun.

He was arrested 24 years after the nun's death and found guilty in 2006 of stabbing and strangling Sister Margaret Ann Pahl at a Toledo hospital where they both worked.

Robinson had been in a hospice unit since the end of May after suffering a heart attack.

Robinson and Pahl, 71, had worked closely together at the hospital, where he was a chaplain and she was caretaker of the chapel.

He presided at her funeral mass.

Prosecutors blamed the murder on Robinson's simmering anger over Pahl's domineering ways, saying their relationship was strained and that Pahl was upset over the shortening of Good Friday services a day before she was killed.

Robinson continued to maintain his innocence.

"Whether in the eyes of God, Father Robinson was or was not guilty of this crime, I do not know," Ritter said in his statement. "I do know that he is the work of God's hands, as are we all."

The statement said funeral arrangements were pending.

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- AP

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