Trial Opens In Case Of Body In NYC Skyscraper

Published March 1, 2012 10:18PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — A prosecutor says a handyman hunted a cleaning woman down "like a predator" before killing her and stuffing her body in an air conditioning vent in a Manhattan skyscraper. But his lawyer says evidence against the man is scant.

Joseph Pabon's murder trial opened Thursday. Pabon denies killing Eridania (ehr-ih-DAH'-nyah) Rodriguez.

Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Christine Keenan told jurors Pabon smothered Rodriguez with heavy tape as she worked on an empty floor in July 2009. Prosecutors say he hid her body in the duct and went home.

Police found Rodriguez's body four days later. Pabon's DNA was found under her fingernails.

Defense lawyer Mario Gallucci (gah-LOO'-chee) asked jurors to focus on what he called "the lack of evidence." Gallucci has said the DNA could have come from routine work.

By Salon Staff

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