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Jury finds man guilty on all counts in Zent family murders, recommends life without parole

A jury on Thursday convicted Cohen Hancz-Barron on multiple counts of murder.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 10:08 AM EDT
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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA) - An Allen County jury has found a Fort Wayne man guilty of murdering a family of four in June of 2021.

On the seventh day of his trial, 22-year-old Cohen Hancz-Barron was found guilty of four counts of murder after he killed 26-year-old Sarah Zent, 5-year-old Carter Zent, 3-year-old Ashton Zent, and 2-year-old Aubree Zent. The crime happened on June 2, 2021, in the 2900 block of Gay Street.

Later Thursday afternoon, the jury also recommended that he serve life without the possibility of parole. He will be sentenced on August 5.

In August of 2021, the prosecutor filed a special notice with Judge Fran Gull to request four life sentences without the possibility of parole for Hancz-Barron. The Zent family expressly told the prosecutor they did not want them to pursue the death penalty because they want Hancz-Barron with other inmates in general population, not in isolation on death row.

Zent family (from left to right): Sarah, Aubree, Ashton, Carter
Zent family (from left to right): Sarah, Aubree, Ashton, Carter(Staff)

TRIAL COVERAGE: Jury selected - Day one of trial - Day two of testimony - Day three of testimony - Both sides rest

After the stabbing in June, probable cause documents say two witnesses who discovered the victims immediately identified the suspect as Hancz-Barron. Investigators then used digital intelligence to track Hancz-Barron to an apartment complex in Lafayette hours after the crime. Detectives say they found he had a bloodied knife and the adult victim’s credit card in his wallet. The documents did not lay out any clear motive for the crime.

He was then taken into custody, and on his way back to Allen County, he reportedly asked the detective in the car if he “will do my time for this case before the time I had on the other case.” Hancz-Barron was serving the remainder of a robbery conviction at a drug rehabilitation center in Tippecanoe County. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he walked away from the facility in April of 2021.

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