Man’s Job Application Leads to His Arrest for Murder From 20 Years Ago

Colin Fredericson
By Colin Fredericson
March 28, 2019US News
Man’s Job Application Leads to His Arrest for Murder From 20 Years Ago
Mugshot of Todd Barket. (Mugshot via Delray Beach Police Department)

Police in Florida arrested a man for a murder committed over 20 years ago, after he filled out a job application.

“Our detectives worked years trying to find the killer in this case,” acting Delray Beach Police Chief Javaro Sims told the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “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.”

After 51-year-old Todd Barket applied to work as a certified nursing assistant, police were able to track him down. The job required a background check and fingerprints.

Barket’s fingerprints were matched to those in a national database that had fingerprint evidence submitted by Delray Beach police after the murder. On March 27, police arrested Barket on a first degree murder charge.

Police said Barket was not surprised to see them. When a detective told him the reason he was in his apartment, Barket shrugged and said “OK,” according to The Palm Beach Post.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested Todd Barket just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 27 at his home in Brandon.

Delray Beach Police Department စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၉၊ မတ် ၂၇၊ ဗုဒ္ဓဟူးနေ့

Sondra Better was killed at the age of 68 while working at a consignment shop, the Sun Sentinel reported. She was at work on a Monday when her killer walked in. She was scheduled that Friday to go to New York with her husband to renew their vows.

“She was violently killed by an unknown assailant,” Sims said, via the Sun Sentinel. “She was stabbed, she was bludgeoned, and no one deserves to die in that manner.”

Delray Beach Police Department စာစုတင်ရာတွင် အသုံးပြုမှု ၂၀၁၉၊ မတ် ၂၇၊ ဗုဒ္ဓဟူးနေ့

Barket was 29 years old at the time Better died. Police did not identify any motive for the crime or know if any money was taken.

Better was found on the shop floor. One of the decorative marbles found around her body contained a fingerprint that matched Barket’s.

A shopper at the store around the time of the murder described a thin, white man in his late 20’s or early 30’s talking about the price of a couch with Better. The description of the young man would have matched Barket’s at the time, according to The Palm Beach Post.

At the time of the murder Barket lived in a mobile home in Palm Beach County. He moved to the Tampa area around 2004.

Authorities started to watch Barket after the fingerprint match, and police eventually obtained his DNA, and it was matched to evidence found at the crime scene.

“He has had no contact with law enforcement, getting arrested or anything,” Capt. John Crane-Baker said, via the Sun Sentinel. “He had a minimal criminal history, mostly traffic citations. So he flew under the radar, even for 26 years before this occurred. It was quite surprising.”

Retired Delray Beach Police Detective Robert Stevens, who investigated the case for over a decade, told
Better’s surviving daughters that the arrest was made.

“It felt really good,” Stevens told the Sun Sentinel. “There were some tears, there was some joy and of course now it’s gonna bring some closure to them.”

Even though Stevens retired in 2007, he continued to work on the case, including conducting interviews and obtaining DNA from people, in hopes of finding a lead, The Palm Beach Post reported.

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