NEWARK, Ohio — A man charged with murder in a woman’s 1991 slaying in Ohio has been found not guilty.
A jury acquitted 73-year-old Gustave Sapharas (goo-STAV’ suh-PHAR’-ihs) of the murder charge Thursday in a courtroom in Newark.
Authorities said a DNA match in 2009 helped lead to the North Canton man’s 2017 arrest in 21-year-old Bonita Parker’s slaying. The Columbus woman’s body was found in Licking County in August 1991. She had been stabbed in the heart.
County Prosecutor Bill Hayes said he respects the jury’s decision, but believes Sapharas is guilty.
Defense attorney Diane Menashe said DNA evidence only showed Sapharas had been with Parker, who was known to work as a prostitute. Menashe said prosecutors offered no evidence that he killed her.
Sapharas maintains he didn’t know or recognize Parker.