April 27, 2016 |
The prosecution alleges that Rudolph Churchill committed two rape-murders in 1989, based on the identification of his DNA a quarter-century later on two items found near the bodies of Ruby Ellis and Cheryl Hanible. On Monday, a lawyer for the 54-year-old South Jersey man questioned the integrity of that DNA evidence. Gina Capuano spent almost two hours questioning Ryan Gallagher, supervisor of the Philadelphia Police Forensic Laboratory, during the fourth day of Churchill's trial in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court on charges of rape and murder.
January 14, 2016 |
YOU WANT TO solve a murder, you have to work the crime scene. But what happens when the crime scene stretches across the whole city? That's one of the obstacles with which Homicide Detective Gregory Santamala has struggled while trying to get to the bottom of the cold-blooded murder of Vito Maglio Sr. Maglio, 69, was reported missing by his family in Northeast Philadelphia on Dec. 14, 2014. What began as a worrisome disappearance of an older man with health problems was revealed to be something far more sinister a few days later, when Maglio's GMC Yukon was found in East Germantown, charred and windowless, with no sign of its owner.
November 30, 2015 |
A week after 22-year-old Nicholas Peter Zizzamia disappeared from his Cherry Hill home May 12, 1979, the body of a young man of similar build and appearance was found 580 miles away in a Richmond, Ind., motel room. The city's Palladium-Item newspaper reported that the man had apparently slashed his right wrist and bled to death watching TV. Authorities did not find a driver's license or other identification in the room, for which the deceased had anonymously paid $13.52 in cash the day before.
November 19, 2015 |
THE GIRL'S dreams were interrupted in the middle of the night by the faint sense of something inching up her leg. A spider would have been scary enough, even for a 9-year-old like her. But then her eyes focused, and she got a good look at the unholy terror that was lurking at the bottom of her bed. A man rose from the floor, his face partially hidden by a green mask. He scooped her up. In the space of mere seconds, he was out of her bedroom and down a flight of steps. Her screams trailed behind her. The terrifying sound woke her father, who darted out of his bed in time to hear the front door slam as it closed.
September 11, 2015 |
WHEN A MONSTER snatched her beautiful teenage daughter off the street, raped, beat and strangled her and then left her like trash in a vacant Kensington house, a homicide investigator warned 17-year-old Anjeanette Maldonado's mourning family that bringing her killer to justice could take time. "The first detective told me: 'You're going to have to wait. You have to be patient.' I thought he meant next week," Anjeanette's mother Paulette Smith, 59, said yesterday. Now, nearly 19 years after Anjeanette was murdered on her walk to school, Smith's long wait for justice has ended.
September 10, 2015 |
More than a decade before Philadelphia police say DNA linked Rafael Crespo to the 1996 rape and slaying of 17-year-old Anjeanette Maldonado, detectives had another suspect - her boyfriend. Maldonado's friends said she had broken up with Christian Vrabec, a classmate at Franklin Learning Center, the day before she disappeared. And James Moses, one of Vrabec's Kensington buddies, told detectives that Vrabec had confessed to him that he killed the teenager. On Tuesday, Moses nervously admitted that he'd made it all up. "I felt threatened," Moses testified at Crespo's nonjury murder trial.
November 21, 2014 |
JAMES KING, the West Philadelphia man who walked into a police station in September and confessed to a cold-case murder from 2004, was ordered held for trial yesterday. Following a preliminary hearing, Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni upheld murder, robbery and weapons charges against King. She set his formal arraignment for Dec. 10. King, 33, of Lindenwood Street near Arch, is accused of committing the Dec. 16, 2004, drug slaying of Raymond Thomas, 24, at the victim's home on Hazel Avenue near Salford Street in West Philadelphia.
August 17, 2014 |
CALVIN GADSON, a Germantown man who robbed a teenage couple and raped the girl in 1998 but was not arrested until 2010 when DNA evidence linked him to the crimes, fought back tears yesterday after being sentenced to 32 1/2 to 65 years in state prison. "I'm not perfect," Gadson, 38, said before learning his fate from Common Pleas Judge Giovanni O. Campbell. "I just ask for a little bit of leniency so I can see my five children grow up. " But Gadson's children - who are ages 6 to 17 - will be long grown by the time he is eligible for parole.
June 27, 2014 |
A man whose DNA led him to be charged in two cold-case murders from 1989 was held Wednesday for a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court trial. Police arrested Rudolph Churchill, 52, on March 19 for the murders of Ruby Ellis and Cheryl Hanible, whose bodies were found five weeks apart in North Philadelphia. Detectives, using decades-old DNA collected from both crime scenes, charged Churchill, who was living in Paulsboro. He had a three-year prison stint in DeKalb County, Ga., for burglary.
April 29, 2014 |
At times, Grace Bowen has caught herself forgetting her sister is gone. At 30, Bowen is older than her sister, Joy Hayward, was when someone strangled her a decade ago in a Chester hotel room. Police found DNA and other leads. But the case went cold. "Whoever it was, they must have stopped leaving DNA, or they died," Bowen said recently from Annapolis, Md. "In the end, I think she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think there was no motive, no reason. " Across the region and the country, unsolved murders are increasingly common.