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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 May 2006, 23:01 GMT 00:01 UK
US priest guilty of nun's murder
Reverend Gerald Robinson listens as the guilty verdict is read out
Rev Robinson gave no reaction as the verdict was read out
A Roman Catholic priest in the US has been found guilty of the murder of a nun 26 years ago in what prosecutors said was a ritualistic killing.

Rev Gerald Robinson, 68, was sentenced to a mandatory 15 years to life in prison by a judge in Toledo, Ohio.

The body of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, who was stabbed and strangled, was found in a hospital chapel in 1980.

The case was reopened after a woman told a panel on sexual abuse of alleged satanic rituals involving Robinson.

Robinson's family gasped as the verdict was read but he showed no reaction. He has 30 days to appeal and the defence team said one would be lodged.

Letter opener

The woman who made the claims against Robinson had turned to Claudia Vercellotti, a local leader of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests who helped her reopen the case.

"I'm devastated it took the horrific death of a Catholic nun to bring vicarious justice to all survivors," Ms Vercellotti said.

But after the verdict was read out, one of Robinson's supporters told Ms Vercellotti: "I hope you rot in hell."

Robinson had been on bail since his arrest in 2004, after supporters and parishioners helped to cover the $200,000 (106,000) fee.

The murdered nun's chest wounds had formed an upside-down cross that forensic experts linked to a letter opener in Robinson's room.

She had been strangled and then stabbed 31 times.

Prosecutors said Robinson had had a difficult relationship with Sister Pahl, who was described as a strict taskmaster, and he finally snapped at Easter 1980.

They said the wounds were designed "to degrade her, to mock her, to humiliate her". An altar cloth was draped over her body.

The defence said there was no DNA linking Robinson to the crime and evidence of his whereabouts was conflicting.

US priest charged in nun's death
04 May 04 |  Americas

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