TALLMADGE, Ohio (WJW) – Almost 50 years after the crimes were committed, a 78-year-old man has now been convicted in two cold case murders that took place in Tallmadge in the 1970s.
According to the Tallmadge Police Department Facebook page, the conviction of Gustave “Gus” Sapharas, 78, “is one of the proudest moments in TPD history and most likely the greatest individual achievement as well.”
The post says the case against Sapharas was reopened by Captain Doug Bohon, who retired last summer but remained committed to the case that dates back to the disappearance of two local women in the 1970’s.
According to police, Karen Bentz, 18, left her parent’s home in Akron on the night of April 28, 1970, and her body was recovered the next morning on Indian Hills in Tallmadge.
Loretta Jean Davis, 20, was last seen in a car with a man in Tallmadge on September 28, 1975, and her body was recovered the next morning in Suffield along Congress Lake Road.
Both victims had been stabbed in the chest and dumped.
Police told FOX 8, Bentz had been stabbed at least a dozen times and, according to an indictment, Bentz’s body was badly disfigured, suggesting she was tortured before she died.
Tallmadge police said they developed new evidence in 2013 that led them to Sapharas, who was eventually arrested at his home in Jackson Township.
Sapharas will be sentenced on April 4. He faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.