Trial starts for man in Kensington cold case murder

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The trial of a man charged with the murder of a young woman in the mid-'90s got underway Thursday in Philadelphia.

Rafael Crespo, 46, is accused of killing 17-year-old Anjeanette Maldonado in Kensington in 1996.

Police say Maldonado, an honor student at the Franklin Learning Center, was raped, strangled, and left inside a crack house near the Market-Frankford El.

There were no suspects in the case until 2013 when DNA led Philadelphia's Cold Case Unit to Crespo, police said.

At the time, Crespo had been serving time since 2003 in Florida for sexually assaulting his stepdaughter, police said.

"It shows people that regardless of what they think, these cases are not lost, they're not put on hold; they're constantly investigated, evaluated," said Philadelphia Police Lt. Mark Deegan.

Paulette Smith, the mother of the victim, said she never lost hope even though it had been 17 years since her oldest child was murdered on her way home from school.
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