MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — A Staten Island handyman convicted of kidnapping and murdering a cleaning woman and then stuffing her body into an air-conditioning duct at the Lower Manhattan building where they worked was sentenced Tuesday to 25 years to life in prison.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Maxwell Wiley called it a crime of "unimaginable cruelty" before sentencing Joseph Pabon, 28, for the grisly killing of 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez.
Rodriguez's daughter, Denise Figueroa, gave an emotional, tear-filled statement at the hearing, saying she and her family have been forever traumatized, that she "can't stop thinking about the disgusting horrific death" and she's haunted by a nightmare of her mother's decomposing body.
"Joseph Pabon destroyed our lives," she said. "He took a life away, so he should get life [in prison]."
During the monthlong trial, prosecutors argued that Pabon tracked down Rodriguez, brought her to an empty floor at 2 Rector St. on July 7, 2009, then suffocated her by taping her mouth shut with thick industrial tape. He also bound her hands and feet, and left her body to decompose for days before police made the gruesome discovery.
Prosecutors said Pabon left work early, claiming he was sick, but cops found scratch marks on his arms and neck when he was questioned. DNA matching Pabon's skin cells was also recovered from underneath the victim's fingernails, prosecutors said.
Pabon's lawyers had argued that Pabon is innocent, and they have plans to appeal.