CAMBRIA HEIGHTS, Queens — Police have charged a Pennsylvania man with the 2008 fatal stabbing of a 14-year-old Queens girl in her bedroom.
Rashon Venable, 24, was arrested after DNA he provided in his home state was put into a federal database and matched a sample taken from the Queens crime scene in 2008, prosecutors said Monday.
According to a NYPD source, Venable’s DNA was put into the system when he registered as a sex offender in Pennsylvania.
Police say 14-year-old Sabrina Matthews was found in her bedroom in Cambria Heights on Nov. 9, 2008 — almost eight years ago — with a deep slash would to her neck and a laceration to her arm.
Matthews’ dad was working overnight when the crime happened, and ran to notify neighbors and police after he discovered the body the next morning. Matthews’ mother told PIX11 News in November 2013 the last time she had seen her daughter was the night before when she went to bed and never heard any sign of a struggle from the girl’s bedroom.
The mother also told PIX11 that police discovered bloody sock prints from the 14-year-old’s room, down the steps and into the kitchen.
An NYPD detective said at the time there were “many different theories” on who was responsible for the girl’s “heinous and brutal murder.”
There had been no leads into who was responsible for Matthews’ death until the recent DNA match in CODIS, a national FBI database that stores DNA profiles from various crime scenes and sources, according to Queens prosecutors.
Venable’s DNA was put into the national database after he was convicted of rape in Pennsylvania in 2009 — just a year after Matthews was killed — according to a NYPD source.
“The defendant is accused of a brutal act of violence in which he spent many years eluding identification and remaining free,” Queens district attorney Richard Brown said in a statement. “Only to ultimately have his own DNA point the finger at him.”
At the time of Matthews’ killing, Venable was considered 16 years old, a known “acquaintance” to the 14-year-old and lived two block away from her home, the NYPD source told PIX11 News.
Venable waived extradition, allowing prosecutors to arraign him Monday in a Queens criminal court for second-degree murder. If convicted, the 24-year-old faces 25 years to life in prison.