By Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — In a lightning-fast non-jury trial that took just 2½ days, the defendant who came to be known as the “Kensington Strangler” was convicted today of raping and murdering three women.
Prosecutor Carlos Vega says 23-year-old Antonio Rodriguez didn’t kill out of rage or anger, but rather “a wicked coldness of heart, bent on evil.”
The bodies of the three victims, identified as 21-year-old Elaine Goldberg, 35-year-old Nicole Piacentini, and 27-year-old Casey Mahoney, were found over a six-week period in late 2010. Prosecutors centered their case around Rodriguez’s confession and DNA found at the scene of the crimes.
The medical examiner’s report concluded that all three woman were strangled in a similar manner. Their bodies had been “posed” after death.
In an earlier hearing, Judge Jeffrey Minehart had ruled Rodriguez’s confessions admissible (see related story).
Expert testimony tied DNA found at the scene to Rodriguez. A forensic analyst testified that the chances of the DNA found on the bodies of the three women coming from someone other than Rodriguez were one in 70 quintillion (70,000,000,000,000,000,000).
Today, Judge Jeffrey Minehart found Rodriguez guilty on all counts. Then, in the sentencing phase, the victims’ family members — fathers, mothers, sisters, stepdads, and aunts — all testified about their losses.
The judge then handed out three consecutive life prison terms.