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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 May, 2004, 09:22 GMT 10:22 UK
US priest charged in nun's death
The Rev. Gerald Robinson (centre) - flanked by supporters - walks away from the Lucas County Corrections Center in Toledo
Robinson (centre) is expected to plead not guilty
A Roman Catholic priest in the US has been charged in connection with the death of a nun 24 years ago in what may have been a ritualistic killing.

A grand jury in Toledo, Ohio, decided the Reverend Gerald Robinson should face charges of aggravated murder.

Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, was found in a hospital chapel covered by an altar cloth at Easter in 1980.

She had been stabbed and strangled; detectives said they believed her death involved some type of ceremony.

Police reopened the case after a woman told a church panel investigating sexual abuse by Roman Catholic priests of alleged satanic rituals involving Father Robinson, the Toledo Blade newspaper reported.

Father Robinson's lawyer, Alan Konop, said his client would plead not guilty.

On Monday, the 66-year-old priest was released from custody after his supporters and parishioners helped to cover his $200,000 bail.

If convicted of the killing, Father Robinson would automatically be sentenced to life in prison.

He cannot face the death penalty because it was not in effect at the time of the killing.

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