TOLEDO -- The State of Ohio versus Father Gerald Robinson is a trial that's sure to bring national attention to the Lucas County courtroom where it'll be heard. The sensational case of the Toledo Catholic priest charged with murdering a nun 26 years ago is now just days away, and attorneys and court security officers are getting ready for an event like no other in the court's history. Court Security Supervisor Mark Lair says, "I've been doing this a little over 20 years and this probably is the highest profile case we've ever done."
News 11 broke the story when Robinson was arrested in 2004. Now you can count on us to keep you informed every step of the way as prosecutors reveal their case against Father Robinson and as the priest's lawyers present his defense.
Jury selection begins Monday. That'll be followed by opening arguments, which should take place by the end of next week. The first witness is expected to take the stand by Monday, April 24th.
Prosecutors plan to use a brand new, $6,000 system called "smart board" during Father Robinson's trial. It's technology that allows prosecutors to simply touch a screen to highlight evidence for the jury. Prosecutor Dean Mandross says, "Really, it's like a remote control computer. You can run your computer off the smart board."
Mandross tells News 11 he's ready to present his case against Father Gerald Robinson, who's charged with strangling and stabbing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in the sacristy of a Mercy Hospital chapel on Holy Saturday in 1980. "We like to hold anyone accountable for any criminal conduct whenever it happened, whether it was 26 days ago or 26 years ago," Mandross said.
Court deputies plan to increase security in and around the courtroom during the high-profile trial. Beyond the interest local media have shown in the case, national media are also planning to cover it. But Court Security Supervisor Mark Lair says that won't interfere with the priest's right to a fair trial. "I don't worry about that because I think we can control what we need to control, and we got a handle on it to enable that to happen," he told News 11.
Court TV will cover the trial from gavel to gavel. Rosann Lucadamo, Court TV's deputy assignment manager, thinks the case will grab curiosity nationwide. "We have a team of trial tracking experts that go across the country searching for trials, and this trial seemed to pique our interest due to the fact that he's a reverend."
Because of a gag order in the case, prosecutor Dean Mandross wouldn't talk about specific evidence, but he did say the prosecution expects to call 30 to 40 witnesses, and the trial should last at least three weeks.
Count on News 11 to bring you all the details as the case plays out in the courtroom.