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Dying ex-priest convicted of killing nun denied prison release

By Kim Palmer

CLEVELAND (Reuters) - A dying ex-priest convicted of stabbing an Ohio nun to death cannot obtain an early release for his final days, a federal judge ruled on Thursday.

Gerald Robinson, 76, a retired Roman Catholic priest serving a life sentence for the 1980 killing, suffered a heart attack in May and is not expected to live more than two months.

U.S. District Judge James Gwin said the federal courts had no jurisdiction over Robinson's request. He was convicted in 2006 of killing Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, in Toledo.

"There is no constitutional or inherent right of a convicted person to be conditionally released before the expiration of a valid sentence," Gwin wrote.

Under Ohio law, inmates serving life sentences for murder are not eligible for early release, leaving the only alternative a request to the governor for clemency.

Robinson's attorney, Richard Kerger, had asked the judge to release him from a prison hospice into the care of his brother and sister-in-law. The state attorney general opposed his release.

(Reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by David Bailey and Eric Beech)

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