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78-year-old man found guilty of 2 cold case murders in Tallmadge from the 1970s

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Posted at 10:17 AM, Mar 17, 2023

TALLMADGE, Ohio — A Summit County 78-year-old man has been found guilty of two cold case murders in Tallmadge from the 1970s.

A jury found Gustave Sapharas guilty of aggravated murder, murder, murder in the first degree involving an abduction, murder in the second degree and maiming or disfiguring another, according to a news release from Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Beban Walsh.

Karen Bentz was 18 years old when she was found stabbed to death on the side of Indian Hills Drive in Tallmadge on April 28, 1970, the release states.

Loretta Jean Davis, 20, was found stabbed to death on Sept. 28, 1975, on the side of Congress Lake Road in Portage County, according to the prosecutor's office. Her car and wallet were found in Tallmadge.

Sapharas was arrested and indicted in 2019 in the murders but was charged under what Ohio law was when the crimes were committed, the release states.

He will be sentenced on April 5.

Watch our 2019 report from when Sapharas was initially arrested in the cold case murders below:

Man arrested for Tallmadge murders held on $5 million bond

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Sapharas was acquitted by a jury for the death of a woman in Licking County in 1991. Authorities said a DNA match in 2009 helped lead to Sapharas' arrest for the fatal stabbing of 21-year-old Bonita Parker. Sapharas' defense attorney argued that DNA evidence only showed he had been with Parker, who was known to work as a prostitute, and prosecutors offered no evidence that he killed her.