A 78-year-old man was recently convicted in the deaths of two women who were both “stabbed in the chest and dumped” over five decades ago.
According to a news release from the Tallmadge Police Department, on April 28, 1970, 18-year-old Karen Bentz was last seen alive leaving her parents’ home. Her body was found the next morning, April 29, 1970, on Indian Hills.
Bentz had been stabbed multiple times and strangled, the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office said.
Approximately five years later, on Sept. 28, 1975, 20-year-old Loretta Jean Davis was last seen in Tallmadge riding in a car with a man, and her body was reportedly found stabbed the next day in Suffield.
The case went cold, but according to police, Capt. Doug Bohon, who retired last summer but stayed on for the case, reopened the investigation and was “able to develop enough evidence that a jury has convicted a serial killer/rapist 50 years later.”
In 2019, Gustave Sapharas was arrested in connection with the cold case slayings, and the Prosecutor’s Office said he was “charged under what Ohio law was when the crimes were committed.”
On Friday, March 17, the Prosecutor’s Office announced that a jury found Sapharas guilty of aggravated murder, murder, first-degree murder involving an abduction, second-degree murder, and maiming or disfiguring another.
Police said, “This is one of the proudest moments in TPD history.”
Sapharas is scheduled to be sentenced next month and faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.