Skip to main content


Return to Transcripts main page


Body of Missing NJ College Student Found

Aired April 25, 2006 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight in the Duke multiple rape case. As you know, a local student-turned-stripper alleges three members of the Duke University elite lacrosse team raped and sodomized her. One of the suspects in more trouble tonight in a D.C. assault case now set for trial. And tonight, the DA signals approximately 16 other members of the Duke lacrosse team is set for charges of their own as a result of the night of this alleged attack.
And also tonight, a priest on trial for the ritualistic murder of a nun 26 long years ago. Hey, Toledo, what took you so long?

Good evening, everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you to being with us tonight. Tonight, a quarter-century-old murder case that went cold, now red hot in an Ohio courtroom. Father Gerald Robinson actually wears his priest`s collar every day to his murder trial.

But first tonight, a Duke multiple rape suspect in even more hot water on a separate case of assault, a severe beating meted out near a local D.C. bar. And is the Durham DA set to charge 16 additional Duke lacrosse players for criminal behavior as a result of the night the student-turned- stripper says she was raped and beaten? And tonight, we are taking your calls.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This incident has been grossly mischaracterized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, ultimately, kids have the responsibility and accountability. Student athletes have to be responsible and accountable for their behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not and has not been charged as a bias- related allegation. I want to make that clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The fact is, only two of them now are the ones that are charged, and all 46 have been sort of colored, as if all of them had, in one way or another, been engaged in this kind of activity, whether or not some of them might have been at the place or not. I`m just troubled by that.


GRACE: Before we take you to the Duke rape case and breaking developments there, let`s go first to more breaking news. Police say a man`s remains have been found in a Pennsylvania landfill. Is it missing 19-year-old New Jersey college student, that we have been covering, John Fiocco, Jr.?

Let`s go straight out to Martin Dicaro with New Jersey 101.5 radio. He is there at the college on the New Jersey campus. Welcome, Martin. What can you tell us?

MARTIN DICARO, NEW JERSEY 101.5 RADIO: Hello, Nancy. Police do, in fact, believe they have found what they are looking for in that Tullytown, Pennsylvania, landfill, what they`ve been looking for since April 3. Our sources tell us that they did find John Fiocco`s remains. And while it has been widely reported as a body, our sources have told us this was not an intact body, that the remains were severely decomposed and compromised, and that, in fact, they were not able to positively identify John at the scene. But they are, yes, confident that it is him. A medical examiner is now working on the case, and he will seek to ID John and also seek to determine the cause and manner of death.

GRACE: With us is Martin Dicaro with New Jersey 101.5 radio. Martin, obviously, the circumstantial evidence points to the fact that it is this young man. Everyone, I know you recall 19-year-old John Fiocco, Jr., a young man that was a star athlete and scholar, on the honor roll. The only trace we had of him was blood found in and around the dumpster at the dormitory there on the campus, where he lived. Was it a murder? Was it a prank? Was it some sort of hazing? Tonight, remains founds of a white male there at the Tulleytown landfill.

Martin, it`s got to be him. What are they doing, a DNA comparison?

DICARO: I believe, yes. And they also have -- rather, have notified the family. And they are working on the DNA comparison and other things that a medical examiner would do in a case like this. And as you point out, this only answers half the question of what happened to John. Now there is some facts, some closer here. They believe that this is him. They can say for certain that he is dead. But how he got there still remain a mystery.

State police are still baffled by this, and they`re still questioning students. And our sources have been pretty generous with us, considering this is an ongoing investigation. They have told us, based on interviews with students -- and they have grilled some of them multiple times, and they`re still asking students -- did John -- was he, you know, pledging a fraternity? What was he up to that night? Based on those interviews and based on the lack of physical evidence on the fourth floor of that dorm, they have no reason to believe at this point he met foul play. They can`t rule it out, they can`t rule it in. But no one knows anything. No one heard anything. No one...

GRACE: Well, Martin, Martin, Martin! The dumpster, the trash chute from which we believe he went down, was only two by two. This was a guy on the swim team, I believe. Ellie, was it swim or soccer he was on?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it was the track team.

GRACE: Track. You`re right. This guy was a muscular young man, and I just don`t see him diving voluntarily down a trash chute multiple floors up and landing in this trash dumpster. I don`t see it, Martin! And especially when he was reported missing. His shoes were -- there you go. Thanks, Rosie (ph). His shoes were right there, outside the bed where he was the night before. Had he pledged a fraternity, Martin?

DICARO: No. Every student I`ve spoken to that knows John says emphatically, No. Police can`t say that he pledged a fraternity. I mean, they`re still asking about that, but because -- you know, they`re trying to put the pieces together here. Was this some type of prank that went bad as part of a fraternity pledge? But no, he wasn`t pledging fraternity.

The students I`ve spoken to who saw him at the party the night he vanished said he was drunk, he had played a game of "beer pong," he, you know, had -- was having a lot of fun, like college kids do, but he was fine. He left the party with several female friends, who all wanted to walk back to their dorm on campus. No one was after him. He wasn`t under any duress. He wasn`t angry at anybody. Walked away with several young girls. He went back to his dorm, fell asleep.

But as you mentioned, you know, it seems unlikely that this young man would wake up in the middle of the night and decide to throw himself down a garbage chute. There are a lot of students here on campus who think that, you know, somebody did him wrong, and they wish that those people would come forward after all this time.

GRACE: I want to go...


DICARO: There are a lot of other students who still believe that it`s impossible somebody could have hurt him because this campus is so safe.

GRACE: Right. OK. To Dr. Daniel Spitz, forensic pathologist. Dr. Spitz, in other cases, like the Duke rape case, it takes days and days, weeks, sometimes it seems like even months, to get DNA back. But in this case, it could be a simple matter of identifying the body through dental records. That can be done almost immediately.

DR. DANIEL SPITZ, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: Yes, dental records are very easy to do, provided you have a set of dental records that you can use for comparison. We have a pretty good idea who this guy is. It shouldn`t take more than a couple hours, once you have a set of dental records to compare.

GRACE: And back to Martin Dicaro. I want to talk to you briefly, Martin. Martin is with New Jersey 101.5 radio, and he`s there at the New Jersey college campus. It`s my understanding -- it`s getting clarified for me -- I know that the young man likely went down the trash chute and was there in the dumpster for a period of days. The trash attendees (ph) saw blood on the dumpster and did nothing until several days had passed and they were asked. Then they announced, Oh, yes, we saw blood. OK.

DICARO: Yes...

GRACE: But I want to...


GRACE: I`m leading up to the question.

DICARO: Go ahead, Nancy.

GRACE: It`s now my understanding that the moment trash hits the bottom of the dumpster, the compactor already immediately forcibly compacts the trash.

DICARO: I believe that might be the case. My understanding of how the garbage works underneath the building is that when it lands on a platform, it`s pushed by hydraulic arm into the dumpster. A robotic eye senses the -- senses that garbage has landed there, and it goes into the dumpster. It has been reported, though, as you point out, that the garbage was compacted once here. Whether that was in the dumpster or by the truck that picks him -- or picked the garbage up -- and in this case, picked John up, too -- compacts it on site. And it`s also then compacted again at a Trenton transfer station...

GRACE: Whew!

DICARO: ... where it`s then shipped off to the landfill in Pennsylvania.

GRACE: OK. To Ellie. Ellie, explain to me the robotic arm.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right. Well, the Associated Press spoke to the company that designed this trash system at the dorm. They said that when the trash hits that bottom of the chute, it sense -- you know, this eye senses that the trash has landed there. A robotic arm with 2,000 pounds of pressure pushes the trash into the dumpster.

GRACE: Very quickly, to defense attorney Ray Giudice. Ray, this may have started off as some kind of prank, some kind of hazing, some kind of a drunken joke. That is total BS in the eyes of the law, because the law presumes you intend the natural consequences of your act. And you throw a man from the fourth floor or tenth floor, whatever floor his dorm room was on -- fourth floor, thanks Ellie -- all the way down a trash chute, what do you think is going to happen, he`s going to laugh it off?

RAY GIUDICE, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Sure, Nancy. That`s why there`s negligent homicide and voluntary and involuntary murder charges, which are not malice murder or capital murder, but clearly designed, when you have reckless conduct -- and here we know that this thing has been fueled by alcohol -- I don`t necessarily know that he had to be in a hazing incident for wild horseplay to take place in a dormitory. I think we`ve all been or heard of those kind of situations in our college career.

GRACE: And to Randy Zelin, defense attorney. Randy, another issue here is the fact that these trash attendees saw this blood and did nothing for a period of days. While it is possible, as Ellie has described, the 2,000-pound force the robotic arm uses to compact -- it`s not probable, but it is possible this young man was actually alive for a period of time before it was even acted upon, especially when these attendees saw blood, for Pete`s sake, and did nothing! There`s a whopper civil lawsuit here.

RANDY ZELIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It has been speculated that he may have been alive when he hit the trash chute, which means he would have suffered a horrific death. There is some confusion on the timeline, whether or not the workers discovered the blood the morning of the body was taken away. What`s unfortunate from an investigatory standpoint is that had the police gotten there before the trash was taken away, it`s very likely that his body would have been there, and it would have been much been much easier from an investigatory standpoint...

GRACE: Yes. I`m still...

ZELIN: ... to try to put together what happened.

GRACE: I`m still predicting a whopper lawsuit. That`s the last thing this family`s thinking tonight.

To Martin Dicaro. Any word on the family before we let you go?

DICARO: Through an uncle of John`s, they have apparently released a very brief statement saying that they were saddened by the discovery of a body...

GRACE: Hold on. Hold on, Martin. We`re showing the viewers this young man. Look, this is a kid scrubbed in sunshine. Look at that smile - - not a delinquent. This guy was number 12 in a class of how many, Ellie?


GRACE: Of 300, National Honor Society, the works, the son everybody wishes they had.

Go ahead, Martin. I`m sorry.

DICARO: No problem, Nancy. Everyone I`ve spoken to about this young man has only said wonderful things about him. You feel you get to know him after a while, speaking to some of the students.

But to answer your question, through an uncle of John`s, I believe, the family, that lives in south Jersey, has said that they are saddened by the news that a body has been discovered. The Fiocco family, though, hasn`t said anything else publicly since the discovery of the blood in the dumpster.

GRACE: Right. We featured words from the father earlier. Martin Dicaro...

DICARO: In addition to what the father said at that mass.

GRACE: Yes. Martin Dicaro, thank you very much for being with us.

DICARO: Thanks, Nancy.

GRACE: As we head across the country to yet another legal story, our prayers and our hearts go out to the family of this young man, John Fiocco, just 19 years old.

Let`s travel down the Eastern Seaboard to the Duke rape case. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This incident has been grossly mischaracterized. This is not and has not been charged as a bias-related allegation. I want to make that clear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This incident that has come up on 610 Buchanan Street is just something that you can`t anticipate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, ultimately, kids have responsibility and accountability. Student athletes have to be responsible and accountable for their behavior.


GRACE: Major developments in the Duke rape investigation today. Let`s go straight to Kevin Miller with WPTF radio. What`s the latest, Kev?

KEVIN MILLER, WPTF RADIO: Nancy, the latest is Durham district attorney Mike Nifong says that he will reinstate misdemeanor charges against six of the Duke lacrosse players. He believes their attendance at that March 13 party violated terms of their agreement to plead out their misdemeanor cases, if they agreed to stay out of trouble for six months and do community services, that the charges would be dropped. He`s looking at reinstating those.

On Monday, we had a defense attorney for one of the accused basically say that he wants to look at the victim accuser`s records, mental, criminal, legal, and look into her past, making allegations that there possibly could be some type of mental health issues here. In addition to that, and also as you heard, Collin Finnerty was in court today in Washington, where a superior judge threw out the plea, and he will go to trial sometime in July.

GRACE: To Wendy Murphy, former prosecutor. You see what`s happening, right? Here it goes, the "blame the victim" defense. And we`re going to pick that up on the way back. But -- yes, no -- will they get this girl`s medical records, Wendy?

WENDY MURPHY, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Not if I can help it. And they shouldn`t. It is absolute nonsense. Nonsense! They`re not entitled to it. This is part of a dog and pony show. I`m not surprised because if we can intimidate and beat the hell out of the victim now, oh, boy, maybe she`ll never even make it to May 15. That`s what`s going on here. It has nothing to do with the constitutional rights of the...

GRACE: Absolutely not.


MURPHY: Nonsense.

GRACE: And Kevin Miller, when we get back, I want to try to get an answer from you as to whether or not money offers have been made by, let me just say, well-heeled individuals related to the school to get her to back off these rape charges.

Quick break, everybody. To tonight`s "Case Alert." Reward money for the safe return of 24-year-old Orlando, Florida, girl Jennifer Kesse -- she`s been missing since January -- tonight climbs to a quarter million dollars, businessman David Segal putting up the reward and setting a May 24 deadline. The Kesse family vows -- vows -- not to prosecute if Jennifer is found safe and sound. If you have information on this girl, please call 407-722-2162.


GRACE: Welcome back, everybody. Breaking developments in the Duke rape case, the lacrosse team rape scandal. Several of the young men -- 16 of them, to be the exact -- are now facing the revival of prior misdemeanor charges. And also, the defense has started its war. We see the blame-the- victim defense in high gear.

This is nothing new. Let`s roll the video, Rosie, of prior cases. There`s the Green River killer, Gary Ridgway, who killed over 20 hookers, and he said they were all tramps. Kobe Bryant, the NBA star, his victim, her fault? She wanted to be famous. She had tried out for "American Idol." There`s the Central Park runner, who was nearly killed and raped in New York`s Central Park. Guess what she did wrong? She went jogging by herself. It was all her fault.

Oh, Lord! Robert Chambers, the preppie killer -- his victim, Jennifer Levin -- you know what she did wrong? She had been drinking at a bar. This video of the preppie killer, Robert Chambers -- he can be seen twisting a doll`s head -- comes from "A Current Affair" back in 1989 -- there he is -- upon his release from jail. He was out for a little while, then immediately got busted for crack.

Robert Blake -- oh, yes, his victim, Bonnie Lee Bakely -- you know what she did wrong? She ran a lonely hearts club program on line and bilked a couple of guys out of about 200 bucks. It was all her fault. Oh, yes, who could forget O.J. Simpson, Nicole Simpson. You know why it was her fault she was killed? She used to do drugs, and she actually dated around after her divorce. Uh-huh. There`s Nicole Brown Simpson. The list goes on and on. There`s Robert Durst, the real estate mogul. His elderly victim, Morris Black, was 74 years old. You know why it was his fault he was killed and decapitated? He was cranky.

Now, here`s a shot of Danielle Van Dam`s killer, Westerfield. You know what that little girl did wrong, why it was her fault, Ellie? She was playing in the neighbor`s yard next door. That`s why it was that victim`s fault. Elizabeth Smart -- you know why she got kidnapped? She was rebellious. And it was her mother`s fault, remember, for bringing home a homeless person to try to give them a job. They even blamed the victim`s mom. And of course, in the Michael Jackson case, all those victims -- it was their fault. They were all just out for money.

So Ray Giudice, what is your response to seeing the defense crank back up the blame-the-victim defense? Do you know what they want? They want her medical and educational history. They say she`s got to be mentally unstable, and it probably dates back a long way.

GIUDICE: Well, look, Nancy, there`s a difference between using this evidence in trial and inquiring (ph) this evidence in your investigation to help defend your client. Now, they should go on the offensive. I don`t see the prosecution having any problem using this one gentleman`s prior little misdemeanor up in Washington to try to use a similar transaction...


GRACE: They have not...

GIUDICE: ... and you know they`re going to try to do so.

GRACE: ... filed for similar transaction.

GIUDICE: But Nancy, you know they will.

GRACE: Doubtful.

GIUDICE: Oh, I don`t believe that one bit. I`m sure they will.

GRACE: It`s not similar enough.

GIUDICE: Well, I think they`re -- I don`t think they`re going to grant it, but I guarantee they`ll try it.

GRACE: Why are you putting the focus on them? They`re not the ones that filed the motion. The defense has.

GIUDICE: The defense has an obligation to look for evidence that`s going to...

GRACE: To do something inappropriate?

GIUDICE: ... help their (INAUDIBLE) Hey, if the judge doesn`t grant it, the judge doesn`t grant it. You always eliminate the fact that there`s a rape shield statute that protects the victim...

GRACE: Didn`t work with Kobe Bryant!

GIUDICE: ... and there`s a judge up there to enforce it. Don`t put the defense lawyer on there, call that judge...

GRACE: Ray? Ray?

GIUDICE: ... that granted that motion on your show.

GRACE: You know what they`re requesting, her medical records...

GIUDICE: OK, and all...

GRACE: ... is inappropriate.

GIUDICE: And Nancy...

GRACE: You know that.

GIUDICE: And all a judge has to do is say, Denied. Move on, counsel.

GRACE: Well, you know what? That`s not the way it played out in the Kobe Bryant case.

GIUDICE: That`s right.

GRACE: And that alleged rape victim ed up backing out. Ray, I`ll pick it up after the break.

I want to get to tonight`s "Trial Tracking." Day two completed in the jury deliberations -- believe it or not (INAUDIBLE) fate of al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui. Will jurors sentence him to death by lethal injection or life, which we`ll pay for? The panel addresses three conspiracies. Moussaoui pleaded guilty to committing terrorist acts, destroying an aircraft, and the use of weapons of mass destruction.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they`re innocent, they should have nothing to worry about. They should sit back, relax, rub their shoulders off and feel good. They shouldn`t have anything to worry about. If the truth is on their side, why are they supporting it with lies?


GRACE: That was the second stripper that night, who was contacted a New York PR firm to spin this alleged rape to her benefit.

Very quickly, back to Kevin Miller with WPTF radio. Can you illuminate the allegation that people affiliated with Duke University have offered to pay this young lady not to proceed forward with rape charges?

DICARO: What I can confirm is that she is very, very hesitant to move forward with this case.

GRACE: OK. So you know nothing about that.

DICARO: No. And to go further would be to speculate irresponsibly.

GRACE: OK. I want to go to Steven Miller, a Duke University student. Steven, when you take a look at these 16 other young men, who have charges ranging from public urination to noise violation to alcohol violations, do you think they should be prosecuted? You`re pro-law-and-order, right.

STEVEN MILLER, DUKE UNIVERSITY STUDENT: Oh, absolutely. If you`re talking about prosecuting people for crimes that are on the record, things that they`ve done, I would never oppose that. But that doesn`t mean that these people are rapists, they`re involved with a rape or they have knowledge as a rape. We cannot, as a society, rush to judgment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You will learn how the defendant and the victim were together in the sacristy of that chapel and how one of them died a horrible death.

On April 5, 1980, Sister Margaret Ann Pahl was brutally murdered. Someone choked the sister around the neck to the very edge of death and then stabbed her some 31 times. It may have taken 26 years to get the evidence to solve this murder, but we have done so. This defendant, on April 5, 1980, purposely caused the death of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl.


GRACE: And that`s not all. This sister, Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, her body was found lying on an altar-type area within the sacristy, and her clothing had been pulled up, and her underwear had been rolled down to around her ankles, so that the people that found her body would find one of the most innocent, the most pure among us lying there, exposed in that manner, with nearly 30 stab wounds, including stab wounds about the chest in the shape of an inverted cross.

Twenty-six years.

To Leslie Snadowsky, investigative reporter, dare I say it, but bring me up to date.

LESLIE SNADOWSKY, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER, "NEW YORK POST": Well, it was a banner day for the prosecution today in court. A Lucas County coroner testified that an eight-inch-long sword-like letter opener that belongs to the Reverend Robinson was an exact match, a perfect fit, to a stab wound that was found in the jawbone of Sister Margaret Ann`s, again, jawbone.

And she was exhumed, and they found the stab wound. They matched it up with the letter opener. And basically, the prosecution is trying to show that this letter opener belonging to the reverend, you know, links him to the murder.

GRACE: Dean, can you bring me that letter opener?

The problem with that, to Dr. Daniel Spitz -- thank you -- is that, how do I say this? For instance, a letter opener is smooth. It`s not serrated on the sides but sharp on the end. This could be, easily be the type of weapon used to kill the sister.

However, you can tell the type of a murder weapon by looking at the wound. But you can`t identify the murder weapon, correct?

SPITZ: Well, you`re correct. And when you look at wounds in the skin, you have to be a little bit willing to acknowledge that, because the skin is elastic, although a knife may fit the pattern, and the size, and configuration of a wound, other knives could also, maybe, cause it.

But when you look at a wound in the bone, the bone is not elastic. So, if there is an exact match that fits the size and configuration of that letter opener, that`s much more powerful evidence.

GRACE: Absolutely.

And to David Yonke -- he is the religion editor with "The Toledo Blade" -- sir, it`s a pleasure to have you with us. Dave, was the sister actually molested?

DAVID YONKE, RELIGION EDITOR, "TOLEDO BLADE": No, there was no sign of any sexual assault.

GRACE: OK. You know what? That`s almost freakier than if she had been molested.

YONKE: True.

GRACE: Now, let me ask you, regarding the evidence that led us to this point, what is the evidence against Father Gerald Robinson?

YONKE: Well, the state is just using circumstantial evidence. They have no eyewitnesses; they have no DNA. But they have what`s shaping up to be a pretty strong case thus far.

GRACE: Do you think -- with us, religion editor with the "Toledo Blade," David Yonke -- Dave, I guess there is no way -- OK, I`m not even going to say it, since we`re talking about priests and nuns. They`ll never know that he flunked one polygraph and got an inconclusive on a second polygraph, right?

YONKE: That`s right. That`s right. That`s not admissible.

GRACE: Oh, OK. What about this: Will they or have they already learned that, after Sister Margaret Ann was found, he suddenly announced to police the real killer had confessed to him, and then retracted that statement?

YONKE: Yes, that was testified in court, both during the opening statements and then in testimony in the last two days.

GRACE: To Leslie Austin, psychotherapist, Leslie, would you dare to go out on a limb? I mean, this is the most ridiculous statement, in my mind clearly showing evidence of guilt. "The real killer confessed to me. Oh, no, I didn`t say that."

LESLIE AUSTIN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: I can`t imagine a reason why...

GRACE: Ridiculous!

AUSTIN: ... a priest would say that if it weren`t true. And it makes no sense that he would say that and then recant. It`s very damning psychologically.

GRACE: I want to go to the phones now, Amanda in Nebraska. Hi, Amanda.


GRACE: What`s the good word?

CALLER: I just wanted to say we all love you.

GRACE: Thank you.

CALLER: But my question is, I`m wondering, if this priest is convicted of the murder of the nun, what kind of sentence is he looking at, being that he`s already an elderly man?

GRACE: Now, Amanda, you`re not suggesting that Lady Justice should be blinds just because he`s elderly, are you?

CALLER: No, not at all.

GRACE: Because I knew you weren`t going there, Miss Amanda.

CALLER: I`m Roman Catholic, so I...

GRACE: You`re Catholic?

CALLER: Yes, I am. So I support, if he murdered this nun, that he get the full brunt of Lady Justice.

GRACE: Well, it`s my understanding, to David Yonke, that, at the time of the killing, Ohio did not have the death penalty, although I believe they`ve got it now?

YONKE: That`s correct. So, because the murder occurred in 1980, when there was no death penalty in the state, then the maximum penalty he could serve is life in prison, if convicted.

GRACE: And, Dave, it`s my understanding also that police asked the Catholic Church to hand over all their information on Father Gerald Robinson and they handed over three pages, only to discover later that there were 145 super-secret pages they didn`t hand over.

YONKE: That`s true. And the prosecutor`s office and the diocese had signed a cooperation agreement, because of the clerical sexual abuse scandal, but obviously the diocese was not being forthcoming when it came to the Robinson case.

GRACE: What were in the 145 pages?

YONKE: We don`t know yet. We`re assuming it`ll come out in court. But there`s a gag order, so a lot of this is still unfolding as we go.

GRACE: To Leslie Snadowsky, investigative reporter, Leslie, it`s my understanding that there were at least two allegations of child molestation in that super-secret 145 pages.

SNADOWSKY: There were two civil suits filed, but I believe four women have complained about these weird -- and I think this is where the ritualistic Satanic stuff comes up -- I mean, these women alleged that priests rounded up these women -- oh, actually young girls at the time -- systematically molested them, raped them, while other women were watching.

There are altars. Men were in robes. I mean, it sounds something like out of a really bad porn movie. I mean, it sounds really scary. So I think, in 2003, when this initial allegation came up, of course, you know, investigators were looking on Reverend Robinson, since his name came up, and resurrected this whole case with Sister Margaret Ann.

GRACE: This sister, Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, murdered April 5, 1980, on Saturday before Easter, in the middle of Holy Week, was strangled so vehemently two bones in her neck broke and the blood vessels in her eyes, the petechiae in her eyes, burst.

Here is where the coroner had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Her physique is described a cluster of six stab wounds. She describes them as being oriented obliquely, which means diagonally, and transversely, which means cross-wise, to the layers of her skin. These varied in size from a quarter of an inch to a half an inch, and they reached a depth of 1 1/2 inches.

In the neck area, the left neck, she describes 15 more stab wounds. Again, these are -- they range in size from 3/16 of an inch to 1/2 inch. They are, again, transverse; some are oblique; some kind of overlap each other. But again, she says, all of the edges are sharp.


GRACE: Tonight, we have with us a very special guest, in my mind, Father Michael Manning, a Catholic priest who`s joining us.

Father, I hardly even know what to ask you. This is such a shocking case, in my mind. In fact, investigators believe that Sister Margaret Ann was covered with the altar cloth and stabbed through the cloth. And this is on the eve of Easter Sunday.

Father, I know you don`t have all the answers in the universe, but this is a horrible blow for the Catholic Church, as well.

FATHER MICHAEL MANNING, PRIEST: Very painful to experience this, for a woman dedicated to God to die in such a heinous way. It`s very, very...

GRACE: And, Father, when I look at her, it reminds me of my own grandmother, right down to the glasses. I can hardly stand it.

MANNING: Yes. It makes it difficult, though, when we find that Father Robinson seems to be the only person that`s involved, to find him easily guilty. But I`m worried about that; I want to make sure that we`re really bringing justice to the situation. It`s a terrible thing.

GRACE: I agree, Father Manning, but I don`t know if there can even be justice 26 years later, certainly not for Sister Margaret Ann.

MANNING: Yes. Yes. Yes.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe it was pulled up to her breasts.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. When you say pulled up...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fair enough, or not?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I believe that`s fair enough.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And the hands were closer to the sides.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As we have positioned this mannequin, is that a fair and accurate representation or fair and accurate approximation of what you would have seen as you entered the sacristy of that chapel on April 5th of 1980?



GRACE: That mannequin representing 71-year-old Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, a nun, one of the most defenseless and innocent among us, murdered in the sacristy, which is a little room off of the altar.

I want to go to Dr. Daniel Spitz, forensic pathologist. It`s a very unusual step to exhume a body 20 years later, right?

SPITZ: Well, it can be a big deal, but it`s done with more frequency because of the evidence that you can get.

GRACE: Especially skeletal evidence, while soft tissue may not be viable 20 years later, skeletal evidence, such as a nick or a break in the neck.

SPITZ: Well, correct. I think they did it to maybe look at this injury in the face, which could have been matched up with this potential weapon.

GRACE: Very quickly, Dr. Spitz, what suggests ritualistic killing to you?

SPITZ: Well, the nature of the stab wounds; the multiplicity of the stab wounds; the fact that the body was posed after death; the fact that this inverted cross was formed with the multiple stab wounds. All of that sort of goes with some kind of potentially ritualistic or Satanic issue.

GRACE: To Barbara in Texas, hi, Barbara.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, we love you.

GRACE: Thank you, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: OK. Why wasn`t the investigation into this innocent, pure woman`s murder handled more professionally by the police department? I mean, we heard today a lead investigator took no notes.

GRACE: Absolutely. Let`s throw that to Leslie Snadowsky, investigative reporter. Why did they sit on this thing?

SNADOWSKY: Well, it`s hard to imagine a time where there wasn`t DNA evidence. But in 1980, there was limited, you know, tests you can conduct, especially with blood.

Back then -- and I believe someone testified today about this -- the letter opener in question was wiped clean. There wasn`t even a fingerprint on it. But now they`re looking at it, and I think they`re trying to finds 26-year-old blood evidence on it.

GRACE: Well, they did at the time -- you`re right, it was wiped clean, but under like an emblem or something on there, right, like a medallion on there?

SNADOWSKY: They said it was like an acorn-like emblem.

GRACE: Yes, from a now defunct wax museum. Don`t even go there. That`s crazy.


They do find a substance, presumptively blood under that, but the whole thing had been wiped clean. Now, what is blood doing up under that, Ray Giudice?

GIUDICE: Nancy, this is really troubling. And I think one of the things that the doctor can talk about is the jawbone -- I mean, it`s made out of iron, essentially. And if that letter opener left that much of an indentation in the jawbone, I think that goes to the ferocity of this attack.

I will say that I think the state has two big problems: One, if it`s this priest, what`s the motive? And, if so, why, what`s going on for the last 26 years? I think the jurors are going to be asking that question when this case comes to them after closing argument.

GRACE: To Randy Zelin, though, defense attorney, the state doesn`t have to prove motive.

ZELIN: That`s true, but jurors are human beings. And at the end of the day, we all want to know why, particularly in a circumstantial evidence case, when you don`t have confession, when you don`t have a witness who can testify, "This is what I saw."

GRACE: Right.

ZELIN: The jury wants to know: Why? Why would this man of God do this?

GRACE: To Norma in Tennessee, what`s your question, dear?

CALLER: Why did the church not turn over all of the papers in the beginning?

GRACE: You know what? If I knew the answer to that, I would know the mysteries of the universe.

Father Manning, why not hand over -- of course, Father Manning is not in this diocese. He`s joining us tonight from L.A. But, Father, why protect 145 pages of documents about this father?

MANNING: I think that initially what we do is, when everyone comes and says, "Would you give information?" The protective and honest way is to say: Here`s the main information, let`s say in three pages, of where he`s moved from, when he was ordained, and the next parish, and next parish.

It wasn`t until later, when there was a push, that they gave the others. And the important question that I have, also, is: I bet you that I have 140 pages of information in my file, too, my birth certificate, my parents` wedding certificate.

GRACE: But this was about other child molestations case. They`re not about your birth certificate.

MANNING: But you don`t know that. We don`t know that.

GRACE: No, no, no, we do.

MANNING: We`re not sure.

GRACE: We do know that.

MANNING: We do know that there is something in there, OK.

GRACE: We do know that. You know what? The bottom line: It`s not even fair to ask you that question. Who can figure out the motives...


GRACE: ... of not handing over vital documents?

We have to go to break. With us, Father Michael Manning. I want to remind you, live coverage of this trial, tomorrow 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern on Court TV.

And tonight, please stay with us just a moment as we remember Marine Gunnery Sergeant Justin R. Martone, 31, of Virginia, killed by a bomb, Iraq, Anbar province. Tonight, Justin R. Martone, an American hero.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Father Robinson certainly doesn`t present a flight risk. He hasn`t gone anywhere since 1980. He`s a member of our community. He was born here, a well-respected member of our community. So my whole -- most of my energy today, all my endeavorments will be toward trying to gain his release from the county jail.


GRACE: A man of the cloth, a father wearing his priest collar to his murder-one trial, in the murder of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl, 71, 26 years ago.

To psychotherapist Dr. Leslie Austin, do you see a ritualistic killing here? And, if so, what does that mean?

AUSTIN: Well, from the evidence I`ve read, it certainly sounds like some kind of a ritual. And, you know, most people think that that`s very incredible stuff.

In my own practice, I`ve worked with someone who was the victim of ritualistic abuse, and it`s very shocking action, it`s real, and it`s a lot more common than we think. So it does not stretch my believability that it`s possible here, especially given the evidence. It`s possible.

GRACE: Let`s go to the lines, Rosie. Let`s got to Lawrence in Nevada. Hi, Lawrence.

CALLER: Hey, Nancy, you beautiful girl. Listen, I got a question. What was the relationship between the priest and the woman? And...

GRACE: That`s a good one. Go ahead.

CALLER: And, also, what kinds of evidence or what kind of reports did the church or the local diocese have about this guy related to the case that they never share with police?

GRACE: OK, got you. Let me throw that to Leslie Snadowsky. Was there any problem between the two of them? And do we know what`s in those 145 pages?

SNADOWSKY: Well, in terms of their relationship, they all worked at Mercy Hospital. And he was, you know, a priest. She was in charge of a lot there. She was one of the head nuns there.

And according to one of the other nuns who testified in court, there was some sort of argument about the Good Friday service before Easter Sunday. Supposedly, the reverend wanted to cut it short. Sister Margaret Ann supposedly spoke her mind a lot, and she basically was complaining about it.

And, you know, maybe they had an altercation about that, but I don`t think that justifies the ferocity of this murder.

GRACE: You`ve got to give me more than an argument over Good Friday to stab somebody 30 times and pull their underwear down.

SNADOWSKY: Yes, exactly.

GRACE: Continuing live coverage on that tomorrow. And I want to thank all of my guests, especially you, Father Manning. Our biggest thank you, every night, is to you for inviting us into your homes.

And tonight, a special get well to our makeup artist Medea (ph), who had surgery today. And sympathy to our regular therapist Lauren Howard, upon the death of her mother. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp. Good night, friend.


© 2007 Cable News Network.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.
Offsite Icon External sites open in new window; not endorsed by
Pipeline Icon Pay service with live and archived video. Learn more
Radio News Icon Download audio news  |  RSS Feed Add RSS headlines