DNA links Pennsylvania man to the murder of a Queens girl eight years ago

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Nearly eight years to the day that a 14-year-old girl was murdered in her Cambria Heights home, a suspect in Pennsylvania has been charged with her killing.

Prosecutors said Rashon Venable, 24, of Albrightsville, PA, and formerly of Queens Village, was charged with the Nov. 9, 2008 murder of Sabrina Matthews, 14, after his DNA, included in a national criminal database, matched genetic material recovered from the crime scene.


Venable waived extradition and was brought to Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens for arraignment on second-degree murder charges, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.

“DNA is an important law enforcement tool that protects the innocent and punishes the guilty,” Brown said. “In this case, the defendant is accused of a brutal act of violence in which he spent many years eluding identification and remaining free only to ultimately have his own DNA point the finger at him.”

Sabrina Matthews’ father found her dead inside her bedroom on the night of Nov. 9, 2008; she had suffered a deep slash wound to her neck and a laceration to her right arm. Prosecutors said there was no sign of forced entry.

At the time, Venable was 16 years old and living two miles from the crime scene. He would ultimately relocate to Pennsylvania.

According to the Queens District Attorney’s office, Venable submitted a DNA sample to law enforcement agencies in connection with an investigation into an unrelated matter. It was entered into CODIS, a national DNA databank created and maintained by the FBI which also contains DNA profiles from individuals and evidence recovered from crime scenes.

Upon examining Venable’s profile, law enforcement sources said, CODIS matched his DNA to genetic evidence recovered from Matthews’ murder.

Venable faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted of murder, Brown noted.

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