By Tony Hanson
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 52-year-old Georgia resident has been ordered held for trial for in two Philadelphia “cold case” murders from 1989.
Today, the prosecution presented evidence of DNA and a jailhouse confession to the murders that occurred just weeks apart, 25 years ago.
Prosecutor Gwenn Cujdik acknowledges that the murders of 19-year-old Ruby Ellis and 33-year-old Cheryl Hanible, both women sexually assaulted and strangled, were the coldest of cold cases.
But a DNA test resulting from an arrest in Georgia linked defendant Rudolph Churchill to the murders.
She says both women were fighting drug addiction.
“For the lifestyles they chose, they were perfect victims,” Cujdik says, “and I’m assuming Mr. Churchill believed that nobody would care about them enough to live out finding the case to the end.”
But the cases were never closed, and family members in court today provided proof that the victims were not forgotten.
The defense contends the DNA evidence is inconclusive, and it is challenging the credibility of the jailhouse witness. Churchill is expected to enter a plea of not guilty at his arraignment next month.