The arraignment of a Jackson Township man accused in two unsolved murders from the 1970s has again been delayed.

Gustave Sapharas was scheduled to be arraigned Friday morning in Summit County Common Pleas Court. His original arraignment on Wednesday was postponed to allow time for him to be appointed an attorney.

Judge Amy Corrigall Jones, the administrative judge, appointed attorney Kirk Migdal to represent Sapharas. Migdal has a conflict on Friday, which is the reason for the latest delay. A new date hasn’t yet been set.

Sapharas, 75, is accused in the stabbing deaths of Karen Bentz, 18, of Akron, in 1970, and Loretta Jean Davis, 21, of Brimfield Township, in 1975. Both women were stabbed in the chest and left along the road, with Bentz’s body found in Tallmadge and Davis’ body discovered in Suffield Township.

Sapharas is charged with aggravated murder, murder, kidnapping, maiming or disfiguring another and attempted rape. He is being held in the Summit County Jail.

Sapharas previously was convicted of the 1976 rape of a 28-year-old Cuyahoga Falls woman and was acquitted of the 1991 murder of a Columbus woman.

The Summit County Sheriff's Office also is looking into whether Sapharas may have been involved in the 1972 unsolved murder of Kathy Wiltrout Bevington, a 27-year-old Franklin Township woman whose body was found in a wooded area near Kreighbaum and Raber roads in what is now Green. She had been stabbed seven times in the back and neck. Detectives plan to revisit this and other cold cases to look for any similarities to the Bentz and Davis murders, Sheriff Steve Barry said.

 

Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705, swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com and on Twitter: @swarsmithabj. Amanda Garrett can be reached at 330-643-3725 and agarreet@thebeaconjournal.com.