This just in.
TOLEDO, Ohio (Reuters) – A 68-year-old Catholic priest was found guilty on Thursday of the murder 26 years ago of a nun in a crime that prosecutors said had Satanic undertones and may have been covered up by church leaders.
The Rev. Gerald Robinson appeared stony-faced as the jury’s guilty verdict was read, and he blinked repeatedly and glanced at his lawyers before being led away in handcuffs.
He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison by Lucas County Common Pleas Court Judge Thomas Osowik, who offered Robinson a court-appointed lawyer if he wanted to appeal.
Robinson, who wore his clerical collar throughout the two-week trial, had been free on bail raised by supporters since his arrest in 2004, and relieved of his priestly duties since that time.
After the verdict was read, one of Robinson’s supporters left the court in tears. She turned to Claudia Vercellotti, a local leader of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, who had helped reopen the case, and told her, “I hope you rot in hell!”
The crime occurred in the sacristy adjoining the hospital chapel in downtown Toledo on the Saturday before Easter in 1980. Investigators said the nun, Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, was strangled and then stabbed, with nine wounds on her chest forming the shape of an inverted cross, a well-recognized Satanic symbol.
An altar cloth was draped over her half-naked body, which was posed as if she had been sexually assaulted.