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78-year-old man found guilty of 2 Northeast Ohio cold case murders from 1970s

Gustave Sapharas will be sentenced on Wednesday, April 5.

AKRON, Ohio — A Jackson Township man has been found guilty in connection with two decades-old cold case murders in Northeast Ohio dating back to the 1970s. 

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The Summit County Prosecutor's Office announced Friday morning that a jury found 78-year-old Gustave Sapharas guilty of the murder of Karen Bentz in 1970 and Loretta Jean Davis in 1975. 

Sapharas was found guilty on the following charges: 

  • Aggravated murder (Loretta Jean Davis)
  • Murder (Loretta Jean Davis)
  • Murder in the first degree (abduction resulting in death) involving an abduction (Karen Bentz)
  • Murder in the second degree (Karen Bentz)
  • Maiming or disfiguring another (Karen Bentz)

Despite being arrested and indicted in 2019, Sapharas was charged based on what Ohio law would have been when the crimes were committed. 

The sentencing for Sapharas is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 5, at the Summit County Common Pleas Court.

Below is more information on cases: 

Karen Bentz

Bentz was last seen alive on Tuesday, April 28, 1970, in Akron. A day later, on April 29, the 18-year-old's body was found on the side of Indian Hills Drive in Tallmadge. Bentz was stabbed multiple times and strangled. 

Lorretta Jean Davis 

Sunday, Sept. 28, 1975, was the last time Davis was seen in Tallmadge. Later that day, the 20-year-old's body was found stabbed on the side of Congress Lake Road in Portage County.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above previously aired on 3News on Sept. 10, 2019.

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