Man found guilty of fatally stabbing Villanova professor 11 times

Kristen Johanson
June 17, 2019 - 1:36 pm
Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia

KYW Newsradio, file

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — The man accused of murdering a Villanova University professor five years ago has been found guilty of first-degree murder, robbery and related offenses.

Victim Carol Ambruster was stabbed in the neck 11 times on Dec. 9, 2013, inside her Germantown apartment. A kitchen knife was left in her neck.

Prosecutors said Philadelphia handyman Jose Diaz hid inside Ambruster's dark apartment, waiting for her to come home from teaching her astronomy classes.

Throughout the weeklong trial, Assistant District Attorney Jason Grennell noted that Diaz's bloody Timberland boot prints were discovered at the scene, along with the victim's DNA on the boots, and the defendant's bloody fingerprint on the back of the victim's leather belt.  

But the defense tried to raise doubt, pointing to the roommate's DNA found under the victim’s fingernails. Attorney Gina Amoriello told the jury authorities only ever focused on Diaz, and never took pictures of the roommate for possible defensive wounds or even looked at his clothes. And, she said Diaz cooperated with police. 

Grennell, however, said the roommate is seen on video at a grocery store in South Philly at the time of the murder, and played a recording of the the 911 call, in which he can be heard saying, "Oh my God, Carol ... Carol."

The roommate was in the courtroom sobbing, next to the victim’s family. Ambruster’s sister breathed a sigh of relief after the trial.

Diaz often whispered to his lawyer, but otherwise kept his eyes on the jury, with his hands folded. When given the chance to speak, he declined. 

Judge Scott O’Keefe called the killing despicable, telling Diaz he took a beautiful, compassionate person from the world and her family. 

Diaz will now spend the rest of his life behind bars.