PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The man suspected of murdering three women in the city's Kensington section made his first court appearace Thursday.
Antonio Rodriguez, 21, is being charged with the rape and murders of Elaine Goldberg, Nicole Piacentini and Casey Mahoney.
Rodriguez, recently released from prison and believed to have been wandering the streets and staying in abandoned homes, was arrested Monday night after being linked by DNA to the sexual assaults and strangling deaths of three women, police said.
He was taken into custody on an unrelated bench warrant after someone phoned in a tip, police said. The arrest came shortly after a news conference at which Capt. James Clark said Rodriguez was being sought as a "strong" person of interest in the murders in the Kensington section.
The attacks, in what's called the Kensington Strangler case, had left the neighborhood shaken — and police fearing that outraged residents might take matters into their own hands.
In the strangling cases, Mayor Michael Nutter offered a $30,000 reward sponsored by the city and Citizens Crime Commission for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrator. Separately, the local Fraternal Order of Police and Councilman Frank DiCicco offered $7,000 for help simply leading to an arrest with a DNA match.
Rodriguez is also facing charges of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse and Abuse of Corpse. He is being held without bail.
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Reported by Tony Hanson, KYW Newsradio; Ben Bowens, CBSPhilly.com
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