78-year-old Stark County man sentenced to life in prison for killing two women

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A Jackson Township man is going to spend the rest of his life in prison after being convicted of murdering two women decades ago.

Gus Sapharas, 78, of Jackson Township was sentenced Wednesday morning in a Summit County courtroom for stabbing and killing 18-year-old Karen Bentz, of Tallmadge, in 1970. He was also found guilty in the stabbing death of 20-year-old Loretta Jean Davis of Brimfield Township in 1975.

He was convicted of aggravated murder and murder for Davis’ death and murder and maiming or disfiguring another in Bentz’s death.

Both of the women were stabbed in the chest and left along the side of the road in Summit County.

Sapharas criminal history dates back decades. He was convicted the 1976 rape of a woman from Cuyahoga Falls. Sapharas was previously charged with the 1991 murder of a Columbus woman named Bonita Parker, 20, but later acquitted.

Through the 80s, Sapharas served a lengthy 14-year sentence for a series of rape convictions.

The life without parole sentence was handed down by Summit County Court of Common Pleas Judge Alison Breaux.