The district attorney requested a controlled DNA swab from Luis Rondon, former King of the Society for Creative Anachronism’s East Kingdom, at the latest hearing in Orange County (NY) court on December 6. He wants the New York State Police forensic lab to compare Rondon’s DNA profile to evidence found at the scene of Deborah Waldinger’s death and elsewhere.
Rondon, who was Waldinger’s boyfriend, is accused of killing her with a framing hammer. He faces felony charges of second-degree murder and first-degree manslaughter as well as misdemeanor weapon possession.
Rondon’s lawyer opposed the DNA request, saying prosecutors have not shown probable cause that a sample from Rondon will yield relevant evidence.
Waldinger’s body was found in her New Windsor, NY apartment on October 9. Police arrested Rondon a few days later in California, where he had traveled for an SCA event.
The Middletown (NY) Times-Herald Record reported the prosecuting attorney’s description of the physical evidence gathered by investigators:
On Friday, in court before Judge Craig Brown, Milza revealed that lab testing of bloodstains from gloves police located in a trash can about 30 feet from where Rondon parked his car at Newark International Airport showed DNA consistent with three people, with Waldinger, 32, as the major contributor. Bloodstains on sneakers police found in the trash outside Rondon’s house on Quassaick Avenue in New Windsor also matched Waldinger’s DNA profile, Milza said.
Officials have security video of Rondon buying a box of garbage bags, and an identical box was found within three feet of Waldinger’s body, he said. Milza said investigators swabbed bloodstains from a bathroom wall next to a light switch, and a Nov. 21 lab report determined that the DNA matched Waldinger and a male.
“I can think of no more relevant evidence,” Milza told the judge.
… Milza [later] said Rondon’s Google searches and website visits in the days after the slaying included “can they track your movements with the Galaxy S10,” the type of phone Rondon owned; “what destroys DNA;” “can bleach destroy DNA;” and “if you want to get away with murder use a special detergent.”
The judge gave the defense attorney time to file further arguments against the DNA sample. He also heard the defendant’s bail application, at set bail at $2.5 million cash or $7.5 million bond.
Rondon will return to court on February 3.