By ALAIN GAILLARD
The defendant who pleaded guilty two days ago to the horrifying 2008 murder of a 14-year-old girl was sentenced to 19 years to life in prison in Queens Supreme Court Thursday, concluding a difficult case that had baffled detectives for almost a decade.
Rashon Venable, 25, was escorted into the Queens courtroom by two policemen, his hands cuffed behind his back and holding a manila envelope containing a sheet of paper with a few words of apology he would later read to victim Sabrina Matthews’s family members and friends present in the courtroom.
“Why did you do that to me? You took away my baby. I miss my baby, I miss her voice,” said the victim’s mother, Sherida Matthews with tears in her eyes, as she was given permission to say a few words to her daughter’s killer. “Do you know what she could have accomplished? She wanted to be a teacher and a doctor.”
On Nov. 9, 2008, Sabrina’s father found the lifeless body of his half-naked daughter in a pool of blood with her throat slashed in the bedroom of her Cambria Heights home. It took investigators eight years to finally match the DNA from Sabrina’s crime scene to Venable’s DNA on file from a sexual assault he committed in Pennsylvania in 2009, on his 17th birthday. Venable was arrested on Nov. 7, 2016.
“All I can say, I have regrets and remorse for my action eight years ago,” said Venable. “An innocent life has been lost because of my action. I am sorry for your loss. I will try to be a better person than I was in 2008.”
Judge Kenneth Holder spurned the killer’s apology, saying that he was one of the most violent people to ever stand in his courtroom. “What is stunning,” the judge continued, “is that you say she was your friend. She made you angry and that is why you killed her.”
Speaking to journalists after the sentencing, the mother also rejected out of hand the killer’s apology. “This guy was born criminal,” she said. “It is a good thing he is behind bars, so he won’t be able to kill other young girls,” she said.