In 1980 in Toledo, USA, Margaret Ann Pahl, a nun aged 71, was strangled and then stabbed, with nine wounds on her chest forming the shape of an inverted cross, a well-recognised Satanic symbol. An altar cloth was draped over her half-naked body, which was posed by her murderer as if she had been sexually assaulted.
It was on a Saturday before Easter of that year that the crime carrying the features of satanic rites occurred. The location of the murder was the sacristy - a room in a church housing the sacred vessels and vestments - adjoining the hospital chapel in Toledo .
26 years later, a 68-year old Catholic priest has been finally found guilty of the murder. Prosecutors said the crime with the Satanic characteristics could have been covered up by church leaders, just as they had for years covered up sexual abuses and paedophilia perpetrated by many priests.
The guilty man is Reverend (do we still titled him as such?) Gerald Robinson. As the jury’s verdict was read out, he appeared stony face. Unlike black murderers he was not sentenced to the electric chair or a chemical induced death but to 15 years to life (whatever that means?) in prison by the judge, who even offered Robinson a court-appointed lawyer if he wanted to appeal. Hope they would extend such sensitive courtesy to blacks too.
During the trial Robinson wore his clerical collar to remind everyone who he is but that didn't save him from the jury's verdict. However, he had been allowed free on bail all the time since his arrest in 2004, though he was relieved of his priestly duties since that time.
Maybe the prosecutor’s comments provide an inkling as to him being relieved from duties while on bail. Prosecutor Dean Mandros said: "It was about how he could humiliate her [Pahl] the most. He left a message [the stabbing with the inverted Satanic cross] for everyone to see ... maybe to God himself."
Prosecutors said the investigation in 1980 had in fact centred on Robinson, the hospital's chaplain and a priest of the Toledo Catholic Diocese, who repeatedly lied to investigators. Prosecutors said Robinson's letter opener was the murder weapon, based on blood splatter patterns at the murder scene and a stab wound in her jawbone.
Then a former police detective, now retired, testified that his interrogation of Robinson was interrupted by a superior who was accompanied by a high ranking church official. The senior police officer ordered Robinson released. No one else was charged in the case.
Robinson even presided over Pahl's funeral Mass, and you know what this reminds me of?
Mid last year I posted the The Romanian Exorcist, where I blogged on the case of a Romanian Orthodox priest in Tanacu, Romania, who crucified a nun – yes, with nails and the whole blooming lot - and then celebrated her funeral as a triumph of good over evil. He claimed that the murdered nun was possessed by the devil.
There was even sound and visual effect during the funeral, when a storm broke out, which the priest immediately declared as a sign from God that His Will has been done.
Of course! What else could it be? Zeus?
Now why did he do that? Why did the priest believe the nun was possessed?
Well, one parishioner said it was inevitable the murdered nun had to be punished, as she had argued with the priest during a Sunday mass and insulted him in front of the congregation. Voila! That sure explains everything so clearly.
In this American case, prosecutors said Robinson was driven by anger at Pahl's domineering personality that culminated in her complaints about how he had conducted a bad Good Friday service the night before the murder.
See the similarity. Seems that some Church priests didn’t like outspoken women. To teach those nuns humility and their inferior places, the priests had resorted to the extreme (no, not 'unction' but) sanction.
Related: Vampiress Then, Vampiress Now