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DNA leads to 1989 Murder Arrest; Hatboro Ricin Arrest; Pennsauken Hit-and-Run Driver Surrenders
 
  by: iradioal - Philadelphia, PA
started: 03/19/14 7:32 pm | updated: 03/19/14 7:32 pm
 
Philadelphia Police have used DNA evidence to identify and arrest a man for two murders committed 25 years ago. On St. Patrick's Day 1989, police were called to the scene of a possible rape and discovered the body of 19-year-old Ruby Ellis. She had been strangled and beaten. In April of 1989, police discovered another body in a burned out building. That body was identified as 33-year-old Cheryl Hanible and the cause of death again was strangulation. No arrests had been made in either case. Now 25 years later, a police CODIS search came up with a DNA match for 51-year-old Rudolph Churchill convicted in Georgia. A warrant was issued and another DNA sample was taken from Churchill, who now lives in Paulsboro, N.J. He was arrested on Wednesday morning and charged with two counts of murder and related offenses.

Armed state and federal authorities raided an apartment at Byberry and York Roads in Hatboro, Montgomery County, this afternoon. SWAT, hazmat crews, police, and FBI were on the scene to evacuate the street as a precaution, it was not a standoff or barricade situation. Authorities took 19-year-old Nicholas Helman, a graduate of Hatboro-Horsham High School, into custody. This was part of an ongoing investigation. On March 7, Helman told a co-worker that he sent a “scratch and sniff” birthday card laced with ricin, a deadly poison, to a man involved with his ex-girlfriend. The co-worker notified police who intercepted the card and arrested Helmen. He was charged with harassment and released on bail. Authorities proceeded to test the substance in the letter and it came back positive. That's why they returned today, arresting Helman again and charging him with attempted murder. Ricin, found naturally in castor beans, is deadly if ingested or inhaled.

SEE ALSO: Hatboro HAZMAT Issue Continues

The driver in a hit-and-run accident over the weekend in Pennsauken, NJ has turned herself in to police. 30-year-old Lita Hursey of Maple Shade surrendered on Tuesday night. It all happened on Sunday morning in the eastbound lanes of Admiral Wilson Boulevard. Ronale Thomas was standing in the roadway helping a pedestrian, 31-year-old Victor Gutierrez, that he had just hit with his van when Hursey came by and struck Thomas. She drove off leaving both men lying in the street. They were taken to the hospital where Gutierrez died and Thomas still remains. Hursey is charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, reckless driving and failure to report an accident. Thomas does not face charges in the death of Gutierrez.

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