With fresh DNA match, Rodriguez charged with 3 Kensington slayings

Antonio Rodriguez was to be arraigned.
Antonio Rodriguez was to be arraigned.
Posted: January 20, 2011

A DNA sample taken this week from slaying suspect Antonio Rodriguez matches DNA found on the bodies of three women strangled in Kensington late last year, police said.

Rodriguez, 22, of North Philadelphia, was charged Wednesday with three counts of murder, rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and abuse of a corpse. Police said they expected him to be arraigned Wednesday night.

Police sources said Rodriguez confessed to killing Elaine Goldberg, Nicole Piacentini, and Casey Mahoney. All had struggled with drug addiction and were slain in deserted areas.

Philadelphia police were still investigating whether Rodriguez may have attacked several other women in Kensington in recent months, Lt. Raymond Evers said. Two women told police that they were choked to the point of unconsciousness and then sexually assaulted, and a third reported that she had been hit in the head.

There is no DNA from those attacks because the women waited weeks to report them. At least one woman told police that her assailant called himself Anthony. Two described him as soft-spoken, a term that police have said applies to Rodriguez. Police have declined to say whether those women have identified Rodriguez as their attacker.

"The second portion of this is seeing whether he's linked to other sexual assaults," Evers said, "but it may be some time before we have an answer."

Rodriguez was arrested Monday, hours after investigators identified him as a suspect through DNA matching. DNA had been collected from Rodriguez after he pleaded guilty to a drug charge last year, and in October the sample was sent to the state police to be entered into an offenders database.

Though police collected a DNA sample from Goldberg's body Nov. 22, Rodriguez's DNA had not yet been entered into the system due to a backlog, staffing shortages, and the upgrading of computer servers.

Rodriguez's DNA was entered into the system Jan. 10, and the match was made Monday morning.


Contact staff writer Allison Steele at 215-854-2641 or asteele@phillynews.com.

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