The Ohio Innocence Project has formally entered an appearance as co-counsel for Father Gerald Robinson. The appearance, filed on April 28, is expressly "For Issues Relating to DNA."
The Ohio Innocence Project, consisting of law faculty and students from the University of Cincinnati College of Law, includes experts in DNA evidence -- specifically exculpatory DNA evidence in murder cases.
As one director of the program remarks, "We're not accepting these cases unless we really believe they [the defendants] are innocent."
And as the project's co-founder remarked, "“It’s our goal to never accept the word of a prosecutor, judge, or trial court."
I told them about the DNA evidence in Father Robinson's case a couple months ago. And they get it. They understand that when a male DNA profile is recovered from the bloody fingernail scrapings of a strangulation victim, that DNA evidence, if it doesn't match the man convicted of the crime, is in fact exculpatory.
A hearing is coming soon in his case. We can count on the prosecutor to oppose the Ohio Innocence Project's DNA testing requests. In a recent piece in the Toledo Blade, the prosecutor can be seen spluttering and saying nothing of the DNA evidence in the case except that he welcomes further review of the DNA and is confident that it does not exonerate Father Robinson.
We'll see about that.
Others are watching this case closely, including another who noticed that the Toledo Blade is quite partisan and does not tell both sides of the story. I'm not alone in thinking that numerous journalists and true crime authors have "a vested interest in Father Robinson never being found innocent."
What does it mean that the prosecutor "welcomes further review" of the DNA? Does this mean he will finally agree to run the DNA profile recovered from Sister Pahl's body and clothing through the FBI CODIS DNA database and compare it to Coral Watts and any other suspect in the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl? And if he is going to stipulate to the testing, I wonder how long it will be before we may have an answer.