The Other McCain

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Report: Suspect Confesses to 3 Murders in Philadelphia ‘Kensington Strangler’ Case

Posted on | January 18, 2011 | 11 Comments

Police say Antonio Rodriquez, 22, has “made a full confession” in the case of three women murdered last year in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, according to Fox 29 (WTXF-TV) News:

Rodriguez was taken into custody Monday in connection with the case after being linked to the sexual assaults and strangling deaths of three women late last year in the city’s Kensington section.
He was previously jailed between June 5 and Aug. 19 on a narcotics charge, Philadelphia police say.

Police had Rodriguez, but the court turned him loose:

A drifter arrested in the stranglings of three young women in a gritty city neighborhood was identified by DNA tests that were delayed by a case backlog, but he has no history of violent crime, authorities said Tuesday.
Antonio Rodriguez, 22, the transient being held in the slayings, does have a criminal record: He was jailed on drug charges June 5 and released on bail Aug. 19, said Bob Eskind, a spokesman for the Philadelphia prison system. Rodriguez pleaded guilty Oct. 21 in that case but was immediately paroled and given one year of probation.
“This was just a judgment that was made in court,” Eskind said, adding that Rodriguez did not have a history of violent crime.

Showing that real life isn’t like “CSI,” it appears that a delay in DNA identification prevented Rodriguez from being arrested earlier:

Pennsylvania State Police acknowledged that for months they had the DNA of the man suspected of sexually assaulting and strangling to death three women in Philadelphia’s Kensington section last year but failed to enter it into their convicted-felon database because of a backlog.
The DNA was not put in the system until Jan. 10.
That meant that the suspect, 21-year-old Antonio Rodriguez, arrested Monday, had been loose for almost a month after investigators knew that the same DNA had been found at the scene of all three victims. . . .
Rodriguez, an ex-con, grew up not far from where the killings occurred. . . . Family members still live in the area but have declined to speak with the media about Rodriguez. . .
The state police received Rodriguez’s DNA from the correctional facility Oct. 25; however, because of a backlog, his DNA was not entered into their convicted-felon database for 2 1/2 months.

There will be a lot of angry questions about that delay, which could have saved at least one of the victims, but like I said, real life isn’t like “CSI.”


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