The Rev. Gerald Robinson, who is now in a hospice unit at an Ohio state prison hospital, had requested compassionate release. Robinson has reportedly been told after suffering a heart attack that he is unlikely to live longer than 30 to 60 days.
U.S. District Judge James Gwin ruled that the decision on compassionate release of terminally ill inmates should be up to Gov. John Kasich.
Kasich has already rejected Robinson's request, and the Ohio law on compassionate release does not apply to those guilty of murder.
Robinson, 76, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life in 2006 for the 1980 killing of Sister Margaret Ann Pahl. The 71-year-old Pahl was stabbed 31 times, with nine of the wounds in what appeared to be an inverted cross pattern, in the chapel at Toledo Mercy Hospital, where she was the caretaker.
Robinson, the hospital's chaplain, was questioned about the killing. He was charged more than 20 years later after a woman wrote prosecutors charging that Robinson had molested her as a child in what she described as satanic ritual abuse.