MySpace/Pennsylvania State Police
The FBI’s CODIS DNA database was able to get a “cold hit” with Rashon Venable for the 2008 murder of Sabrina Matthews.
By Naeisha Rose

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced to life in prison last week for the 2008 murder of a 14-year-old girl in her Cambria Heights home, according to the Queens district attorney’s office.

Rashon Venable, 25, was found eight years after the murder when a DNA sample of his obtained in Pennsylvania was matched to the one in CODIS, a national DNA database created and maintained by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, DA Richard Brown said.

The NYPD’s Cold Case Homicide Squad Detectives John Roberts and Gary Haber, as well as Sgt. Philip Panzarella, conducted the investigation into the murder.

The CODIS database holds on to DNA profiles from crime scenes and a match for Sabrina Matthews — the teen victim — was found. Soon after on Nov. 7, 2016, the Albrightsville, Pa, native was nabbed in his home state.

“This case highlights how important DNA analysis is when it comes to law enforcement,” Brown said. “My office remains committed to working tirelessly to ensure that justice is done – no matter how many years it may take.”

According to the criminal charges, Sabrina’s father, Livingston Matthews, found her at home on Nov. 9, 2008, with a deep slash wound to her neck and multiple stab wounds to her face, neck and arms.

At the time of the murder, Venable was 16 and lived one town over in Queens Village, according to the DA’s office. The defendant was approximately two miles from the scene of the crime.

After being apprehended in 2016, Venable was extradited back to New York by George Farrugia, chief of the DA’s Extraditions Unit.

ANY MOTLast month, Venable pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder before Queens Supreme Court Judge Kenneth Holder, who imposed an indeterminate sentence of 19 years to life in prison.

“The defendant has now been sentenced for the cold-blooded and heinous killing of a teenage girl, who should have been safe inside her own home,” Brown said. “I am hopeful that the family of the victim will find some comfort knowing the person responsible for this horrific crime will be locked away from society.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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