Cops Get Blood Samples From Craig Rabinowitz

Posted: June 19, 1997

There were scratches on his face. And blood was under her fingernails.

So say four friends of Craig Rabinowitz and a state police forensic investigator who examined fingernail clippings taken from the body of his slain wife, Stefanie.

The friends told investigators that when they saw Rabinowitz on April 30 - hours after his wife's death - he ``had what appeared to be three scratches on the left side of his face.''

The scratches were described as appearing to be ``fresh and consistent with having been made by fingernails,'' according to an affidavit released yesterday by District Justice Henry J. Schireson.

The scratches, according to law enforcement sources, were ``superficial.''

The affidavit also states that fingernail scrapings and clippings removed from the right hand of Stefanie Rabinowitz ``gave a positive result on a presumptive test for blood.''

The affidavit, filed by Lower Merion Detective Richard Birkenmeier, was attached to a search warrant seeking blood samples from the accused killer.

Two vials of blood were drawn Tuesday from the 33-year-old latex-glove salesman, who has been locked in Montgomery County Prison. It will take six to eight weeks before authorities will know if the blood matches Craig Rabinowitz.

The revelations come on the heels of other potentially damaging evidence that indicates Stefanie Rabinowitz may have known her puffy-faced, go-go crazed hubby was in a financial bind.

The day before her death, Stefanie Rabinowitz wrote a check for $7,800, which she gave to her husband, according to sources. He cashed the check two days after her death.

The check represented the value of roughly 800 shares of stock that she had held for some time, said a source familiar with the case.

Stefanie Rabinowitz expected her husband to repay the loan, which sources believe he requested for his business.

But investigators believe the cash, like other credit-card advances and a $95,000 loan taken out on his house, were used to finance a free-spending double life with a topless dancer - and maintain cash flow in an escalating Ponzi scheme that Rabinowitz allegedly operated with investments from friends.

Montgomery County prosecutors are expected to file theft charges in connection with the loans, which put roughly $200,000 in circulation among 10 investors.

Sources said two of those investors were among the four friends who noticed the cuts on Rabinowitz's face the day after Stefanie Rabinowitz was murdered.

The police affidavit did not identify any of the friends.

Rabinowitz's attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.

The information contained in the affidavit clearly attempts to establish further forensic and circumstantial links between the bulky 200-pounder and the death of his petite, raven-haired wife.

Shortly after his wife's death, Rabinowitz told the surviving object of his affections - the exotic dancer named ``Summer'' - that he believed his wife had slipped and fallen in a hallway bathroom tub.

But an autopsy by Philadelphia Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Ian Hood and county coroner Dr. Halbert Fillinger concluded Stefanie Rabinowitz had been strangled by hand in an execution that took at least four minutes to complete.

Investigators believe the scratches were made by a struggling Stefanie attempting to fight off the suffocating death grip of her husband, a former camp counselor.

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