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Defense attorney in slaying case questions DNA evidence

The defense attorney for the man accused of killing a Manhattan cleaning woman raised questions Saturday about the DNA evidence investigators said they have collected in the case. After arresting Joseph Pabon, 25, on Friday for the murder of Eridania Rodriguez, 46, police said that DNA tests of material from beneath the dead woman's fingernails revealed a mix of two types of genetic material. According to the criminal complaint unsealed Saturday in Manhattan Criminal Court, investigators said that a "minor" contributor to the mixture was from a male and consistent with Pabon's DNA. The "major" DNA contributor was a woman, the complaint notes. However, in an interview Saturday after Pabon's arraignment on second-degree murder charges, defense attorney Mario Gallucci said the lack of specificity in the complaint, regarding whether Rodriguez was the source of the female DNA material, was a glaring omission. "Why aren't they saying the major contributor is her?" Gallucci asked. "I think there is a problem [with the evidence]." Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the city medical examiner's office, which did the DNA testing, declined to comment on the results. A spokeswoman for the Manhattan district attorney's office also declined to comment. Pabon was held without bail after pleading not guilty Saturday to two second-degree murder charges stemming from the death of Rodriguez, whose body was found July 11 in a ventilation duct in the building on Rector Street where both she and Pabon worked. Rodriguez, who didn't keep a dinner engagement with a friend on July 7, died of asphyxia from the duct taping of her mouth and head, investigators said. The complaint notes that when Pabon was questioned by police on July 8, he admitted saying hello to Rodriguez inside the building at 2 Rector St. Pabon told cops he left work at about 9 p.m. on the night of July 7 because he was sick, the complaint states. Police noted Pabon had scratches on his torso, left arm, head and neck, as well as bruising on his arms, the complaint states. "He got the scratches either through yard work or moving," Gallucci said. "If you've seen the scratches, they're laughable." - With Daniel Edward Rosen and Maria Alvarez

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