03-20-2014, 05:37 PM #1Registered User
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PA - Ruby Ellis, 19, & Cheryl Hanible, 33, murdered, Philadelphia, 1989
March 20, 2014
PHILADELPHIA Hours before dawn on March 17, 1989, a man peered into an abandoned Oldsmobile in a North Philadelphia lot and saw a body.
Police identified the deceased as 19-year-old Ruby Ellis of the 2500 block of West Girard Avenue. A brief news item in The Inquirer the next day reported that she had been strangled, that she was wearing only a jacket, and that she had been dead for several hours when she was found in the car at 15th and Flora Streets.
Five weeks later, The Inquirer ran an item on another strangling: Cheryl Hanible, 33, of Southwest Philadelphia, found inside a burned-out, vacant bar on Girard, blocks from the site of the March 17 slaying.
She had been gagged with a sock and strangled with a shoelace. Neighbors described the building as "a hangout for the homeless, drug addicts, and prostitutes."
No arrests were reported, and the case went unresolved for 25 years - until Wednesday, when detectives using decades-old DNA collected from both crime scenes charged a Paulsboro man in connection with the killings.
Rudolph Churchill, 51, was charged with two counts of murder and related offenses and was awaiting arraignment Wednesday night.
03-20-2014, 06:16 PM #2
Thanks for that post, JoeLB. I love to hear of another cold case solved. Now the question is, are there other victims? It sounds like he was pretty sloppy, so you'd think there'd be DNA. On the other hand, he might've gotten smarter, or evidence was destroyed or mishandled. I always have a hard time believing perps who do these types of crimes stop at one or two.
Churchill had served time in Georgia, which is where the matching DNA sample was taken. He had since been released by the time the match was made, but detectives learned he now had a home in New Jersey.
"Investigators were able to make contact with the defendant in a location in Jersey. Once they made contact with him, through a search and seizure warrant, they were able to get a DNA sample," said Lt. Stanford.__________________________________
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07-03-2014, 05:45 AM #3
A man whose DNA led him to be charged in two cold-case murders from 1989 was held Wednesday for a Philadelphia Common Pleas Court trial.
Police arrested Rudolph Churchill, 52, on March 19 for the murders of Ruby Ellis and Cheryl Hanible, whose bodies were found five weeks apart in North Philadelphia...
Municipal Court Judge David C. Shuter said he was unsure of the evidence of rape in both cases, but set a formal arraignment date of July 16.
04-22-2016, 06:25 AM #4
Back in 1989, said Cheryle Dowling, when she was hooked on crack cocaine and part of a group of young North Philadelphia women looking for cash for their next fix, there was this guy named Rudy.
Rudy was older than she and her friends, but was a familiar sight around 27th and Thompson Streets, sometimes giving girls a lift in his red car or on a moped...
"He still looks familiar," testified Dowling, now 47, eyeing the 54-year-old Churchill on the other side of the courtroom. "I'm not 100 percent sure, but he does look like the person that we did hang around with."
Dowling testified for the prosecution on the second day of Churchill's trial for murder and rape in the strangling of Ellis and Cheryl Hanible.
04-22-2016, 05:41 PM #5
On Friday, more prosecution testimony focused on the forensic science used in the investigation involving the murders of two women in Philadelphia, back in 1989...
By 2014, Philadelphia benefited from a federal grant that allowed investigators to compare cold case DNA profiles against biological materials in an FBI database. That’s how they came upon the defendant, 54-year-old Rudolph Churchill.
04-28-2016, 02:00 AM #6
"Isn't it possible that this could be secondary transfer?" Capuano asked of the DNA found on the heel of Hanible's sneaker...
Capuano has challenged the integrity of the procedure by which the DNA evidence was collected and analyzed. Capuano has had her own DNA expert in court and is expected to call him as a witness when the defense case begins...
Both Capuano and Cujdik have acknowledged problems confronting the investigation that led to Churchill. Both victims died in places frequented by drug users and where prostitutes met customers for sex. Both women were found in places littered with trash, crack pipes, used condoms, and other debris left by any number of men and women.
04-28-2016, 10:51 PM #7
Assistant District Attorney Gwenn Cujdik ended the prosecution case earlier Thursday after additional testimony from police DNA analyst Bryne Strother...
The defense case began with Churchill, 54, of Paulsboro, telling Common Pleas Court Judge Rose Marie DeFino-Nastasi that he would not testify in his defense.
04-30-2016, 04:06 AM #8
The fate of Rudolph Churchill, the South Jersey man who prosecutors say was linked by DNA - 25 years after the fact - to the 1989 rape and murder of two North Philadelphia women is now up to a jury of 12 Philadelphians...
The jury of eight women and four men resumes deliberating Monday...
05-02-2016, 05:28 PM #9
The jurors resumed work asking to see key pieces of evidence: photos of the knots in the ligatures that killed Ruby Ellis and Cheryl Hanible; the DNA reports that prosecutors say proves Churchill, 54, of Paulsboro, killed the two women; and electropherograms, the graphic representations of chromosomes in a DNA comparison of Churchill and the two women...
The photos of the knots in the ligatures is important because Assistant District Attorney Gwenn Cujdik argued that they were singular - tied with bows - and a hallmark of a "signature crime" committed by one person.
05-03-2016, 12:05 AM #10The judge sentenced the defendant to two consecutive life prison terms on Monday, with no chance of parole.
Jurors found 54-year old Rudolph Churchill guilty on two counts of first degree murder. Jurors acquitted Churchill on the rape charges, perhaps because his DNA was found near, but not on their bodies. The jury had absorbed seven days of testimony from opposing DNA experts who reached different conclusions on whether evidence included or excluded the defendant.
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