An elevator operator who was convicted of savagely killing a cleaning woman while the two were alone in a Financial District office building in 2009 was sentenced to up to life in prison today.

On the evening of July 7, 2009, Joseph Pabon, 28, was working as a freight elevator operator at an office building at 2 Rector Street, according to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.


Rodriguez, 46, worked as a member of the cleaning staff at the same building. That night, after all the office workers had gone home for the day, Pabon followed Rodriguez to the eighth floor of the building, after asking other cleaning staff where she was. There, he attacked her and suffocated her with industrial tape, said the DA.


Pabon then used the freight elevator that he operated to transport her body to the 12th floor of the partially empty building. There, he hid her body in an air duct. Someone made the gruesome discovery four days later.


In April, a jury, some of them in tears, found Pabon guilty of murder and kidnapping of Rodriguez, a mother of three.


“The defendant brutally and senselessly took away the life of a mother of three children,” said Vance.


According to Vance, Pabon's DNA was found under the dead woman's fingernails, "indicating there was a struggle as the victim fought for her life," he said.

"I hope that the verdict and today’s sentencing brings a small measure of peace to the victim’s family," said the DA.

Pabon has consistently denied the crime, and it's unclear what triggered the attack.