Lehigh Valley

Allentown stabbing attack scene was a 'bloody mess'

Charges against Henry Resto-Colon bound for court

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - An Allentown man could be headed to trial in connection to a brutal attack of an elderly man that left the victim in the hospital for at least two months.

District Judge Michael D’Amore held for court attempted homicide, aggravated assault and robbery charges against Henry X. Resto-Colon following a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning in Lehigh County Central Court. The 30-year-old Resto-Colon is being held in county jail without bail due to a state parole detainer and the seriousness of the charges.

The victim did not testify Tuesday. At the end of the hearing, a family member of the victim could be seen angrily talking to Resto-Colon in Spanish.

The attack took place the morning of Oct. 31, 2017, inside the North Bradford Street home of Matilde Malave. Officers responded to the home to investigate a report of a possible shooting victim. When police arrived, they found Malave on the kitchen floor with multiple stab wounds to his torso.

Allentown police Det. Raymond Ferraro testified that he arrived to find “a lot of blood” in the kitchen and trash scattered about the floor, prompting Assistant District Attorney Jay Jenkins to characterize the scene as a “bloody mess in the kitchen.”

The victim was taken to St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill with life-threatening injuries, according to Ferraro. He estimated Malave was in the hospital for about two and a half months.

Investigators discovered that the victim’s cell phone was missing, which was located with assistance from the provider. Ferraro testified that police found the phone hours later in a garbage bin almost three miles from the victim’s home. Authorities called the phone, finding it in a bag of garbage.

Along with the cell phone and household trash, police found a bloody hand towel and bloodied clothing, including a t-shirt, jeans, a sweatshirt and a pair of boots. Investigators also managed to lift 10 fingerprints from items inside the bag.

Ferraro said he considered the hand towel significant because it looked almost like a “pooling of blood” on the towel. He testified it appeared as though someone had used the towel to stop bleeding.

In response to a question from Jenkins, Ferraro said it’s his experience that an attacker can cut himself in the process of stabbing a victim.

Investigators couldn’t find anything similar in the victim’s apartment to the yellow blood-stained hand towel found in the garbage bag along with his cell phone, according to Ferraro. He later testified that similar towels were found in Resto-Colon’s apartment in the 700 block of North Seventh Street, which is about a quarter block from where police found the cell phone and garbage bag.

Authorities allegedly found Resto-Colon’s fingerprints and DNA in the garbage bag of bloody clothes, Ferraro said.

During cross-examination, defense attorney Amy Sonin asked whether police secured a search warrant, compelling the service provider to help find the victim’s missing cell phone. Ferraro said police did not secure a warrant, citing exigent circumstances because of the random nature of the attack.

He also testified in response to a question from the defense that authorities are unable to determine how long the fingerprints or DNA had been on the items found in the North Seventh Street garbage bin.

Sonin argued that the prosecution failed to meet its burden of probable cause, in part, because DNA testing didn’t definitively prove it was Resto-Colon’s DNA, only that he couldn’t be excluded. She also noted that testing found a mix of three DNA samples on a bloody sweatshirt found in the garbage bag.

The prosecution was also unable to establish how long the prints had been on the items in the bag, Sonin argued.

Jenkins countered that the prosecution had met its burden of proof considering the victim’s DNA and the defendant’s DNA and fingerprints were found in a bag of garbage following a brutal, bloody attack.

The judge agreed with the prosecution. Resto-Colon’s next court date is a formal arraignment scheduled for April 24 before Judge James Anthony.

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