TOLEDO -- Everybody has an opinion about The State vs. Father Robinson, but only the jury members sat through weeks of testimony and evidence to decide this case. How did they do it? Why did they find Father Robinson guilty? News 11's Jonathan Walsh talked to a couple of jury members about their involvement in this historic case.
The jury found Father Gerald Robinson guilty of murder on Thursday morning after the two-week trial. Prosecutors were able to prove to the jury that Robinson strangled, then stabbed Sister Margaret Ann Pahl in the sacristy of the chapel in the former Mercy Hospital in 1980. She had been preparing the chapel for Easter services. The case was re-opened two years ago, when investigators got a letter about an unrelated case that led them to take a new look at Robinson.
The jury members say it was a long, detailed trial filled with scientific evidence and lies that boiled down to one thing -- Father Robinson was guilty. "I think the defense really didn't defend as well as they should have," said 31-year-old Trushay Carpenter. She was an alternate juror who was pressed into service when another juror got sick last week. "I felt that I would have liked to have heard more from Father Robinson as far as a testimony or something just for him to even speak up for hisself," said Carpenter.
Carpenter was also somewhat critical of the prosecution saying it could have done better. "There was a lot of stuff missing as far as reports," she said. The key, Carpenter said, was the letter opener. "Being his item and still in his possession. Being the murder weapon. I mean you just have to go with the facts."
Another juror who would not go on camera says it was the lying Father Robinson did during his police interrogation that swayed that juror's thinking. Carpenter says when deliberations started, she was not sure how she felt about a verdict, however that wasn't the case for many of the others. "Some of us needed persuading. Other than that, the rest of them knew which way they wanted to go," said Carpenter.
Now that it is over, how does she feel? "It was a hard day, hard past couple days. I'm just taking everything in," said Carpenter. She says she is a woman of faith and thinks Sister Margaret Ann Pahl has been watching this trial and verdict. "She's probably relieved. I hope so."
Both Carpenter and the other juror say they are ready to put this behind them and move on with their lives.