DNA links child molester to 1997 stabbing death of FW woman




Posted on January 28, 2010 at 10:52 AM

FORT WORTH - Over 12 years after a Fort Worth woman staggered into a neighbor's doorway naked and with multiple stab wounds, Fort Worth police say DNA has linked a child molester to her murder.

Authorities said they have linked Roberto Vento, 35, to a potential murder weapon that was found at the home of Marianna "Mary" Jenkins.

Thirty-eight-years-old at the time of the stabbing, Jenkins was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital, which was where she also worked as a lab technician. She died over a week later on January 4, 1998.

Authorities said Jenkins was unable to give a detailed description of her attacker and what happened to her that night due to her condition. However, she had told family members that her attacker struck her over the head with a lamp, stabbed her and then attempted to strangle her while inside her residence.

"I asked her, 'Did you know this person?'" said Carolyn Goodrum, Jenkins' friend. "And she shrugged and she said, 'No, he just stopped to help me with my tire,' and that's what she said.'"

Goodrum and Jenkins had spent Christmas together just three days before the fatal attack.

She said she was able to escape after kicking the man in the groin and then running to a neighbor's home, police said.

In June 2009, DNA taken from skin cells found on the potential weapon was matched to Vento, who was serving a five-year sentence for molesting a five-year-old girl in 2004.

On January 13, Vento was also indicted in the 2001 sexual assault of a 44-year-old woman based on DNA match.

WFAA's Jim Douglas and Marjorie Owens contributed to this report