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Man gets life after being linked to cold case murder by job application

Man who eluded police for two decades is sentenced to life for murdering a 68-year-old woman – after he was linked to the crime when he submitted his fingerprints for a job application

  • Todd Barket, 51, was sentenced on Friday after being convicted of first-degree murder in the 1998 slaying of Sondra Better in Delray Beach, Florida
  • Better had been working at a consignment store when she was found stabbed and beaten to death 
  • Police found the killer’s fingerprints and DNA from his blood at the scene but were unable to get a match 
  • They finally received a break in December last year when Barket applied for a job that required him to submit his fingerprints for a background check 
  • He was arrested and charged in March over Better’s brutal slaying 

A Florida man has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of a 68-year-old woman two decades ago after only being linked to the crime when he submitted his fingerprints for a job application. 

Todd Barket, 51, was sentenced on Friday after being convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of Sondra Better in Delray Beach in August 1998. 

Better had been working at Lu Shay’s Consignment Store when she was found stabbed and beaten to death. 

She was murdered just days before she was set to renew her wedding vows with her husband Zeke in New York on their 50th anniversary.

Todd Barket, 51, was sentenced on Friday after being convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of Sondra Better in Delray Beach, Florida in August 1998

Police said two teenagers had found the mother-of-three dead in the store and that the cash register had been emptied.

They found a trail of the killer’s blood leading from Better’s body to the cash register and then out the store’s front door. 

A set of fingerprints were also found on a decorative marble ball used in the attack. 

Investigators had also been told that a customer had spotted Better haggling with a tall, blonde man over the price of a couch about 30 minutes before she was killed. 

Despite the trail of evidence and a potential suspect, police were unable to pin down the murderer. 

The fingerprints and a DNA sample from the blood they had found failed to find any matches in a nationwide database search.

Better’s husband went on to fund a scholarship for criminal justice students at Florida Atlantic University and volunteered at the Delray Beach Police Department for 15 years. 

Better, who was working at Lu Shay's Consignment Store when she was found stabbed and beaten to death, was murdered just days before she was set to renew her wedding vows with her husband Zeke in New York on their 50th anniversary

Better, who was working at Lu Shay’s Consignment Store when she was found stabbed and beaten to death, was murdered just days before she was set to renew her wedding vows with her husband Zeke in New York on their 50th anniversary

After two decades, police finally received a break in December last year when Barket applied for a job that required him to submit his fingerprints for an employment background check. Barket was arrested and charged in March with the slaying

After two decades, police finally received a break in December last year when Barket applied for a job that required him to submit his fingerprints for an employment background check. Barket was arrested and charged in March with the slaying

He had vowed to try and find his wife’s killer but he died in 2015 without knowing his identity.

‘We had fingerprints, we had blood, we even had a possible description from a witness. But the person responsible for this heinous case seemed to just disappear,’ Acting Delray Beach Police Chief Javaro Sims said earlier this year. 

After two decades, police finally received a break in December last year when Barket applied for a job at a fire and water cleanup company that required him to submit his fingerprints for an employment background check. 

Barket testified that he robbed the store but denied ever attacking Better

Barket testified that he robbed the store but denied ever attacking Better

Those fingerprints matched the evidence police submitted to the national database years earlier. 

State law enforcement then began monitoring Barket and obtained his DNA, which also matched the blood from the crime scene. 

They also determined that Barket, who matched the description of the suspect, had been living in a mobile home near Delray Beach when Better was murdered.  

Barket, who has been married for 26 years, was arrested and charged in March with the slaying. 

He was sentenced to life in prison on Friday after a week-long trial.  

The victim’s family called Barket’s sentencing a ‘blessing’ and said it would finally bring closure to their family.  

‘We prayed this day would come and it has,’ Better’s daughter Robin Shores said according to the Sun-Sentinel.  

Barket testified that he robbed the store but denied ever attacking Better. 

He claimed not to have seen the victim’s body lying on the floor when he stole $100 from the cash register. 

Barket, who has been married for 26 years, was arrested and charged in March with the slaying

Barket, who has been married for 26 years, was arrested and charged in March with the slaying

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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