A cold murder case in Arizona has been solved after nearly four decades, with the help of DNA evidence.
Bryan Scott Bennett, of Kentucky, has been identified as the killer of Cathy Sposito, 23, who was found bludgeoned with a rock and wrench and shot in the eye while hiking in central Arizona in 1987.
Who is Bryan Scott Bennett? Murderer of Cathy Sposito in Arizona cold case
Bennett fatally shot himself in 1994 in his home state. He was 53 years old.
Authorities said they linked Bennett to Sposito’s murder through familial DNA and after exhuming his body from a grave in Kentucky.
“Cathy Sposito, I am saying today with high confidence, was murdered by Bryan Scott Bennett,” Yavapai County Sheriff David Rhodes said in a news conference.
Hikers heard Sposito screaming for help on the day of her murder, but nobody could reach her in time. By the time she was found, she was dead. She had been hit with a rock and a ratchet, shot in the eye with a .22-caliber pistol and stabbed in the side of the head.
The case went cold for many years, but advances in DNA technology helped detectives crack it. The bloody wrench used to bludgeon Sposito was matched to Bennett’s DNA.
Bennett was also linked to other sexual assaults in the area, including an attempted assault at a drinking party in Chino Valley, California, and an attack on a woman at a post office in Prescott.
He was never convicted of any of these crimes.
The victim of the attempted assault at the drinking party spoke out at the news conference. She said she was a 22-year-old mother at the time and that she didn’t always believe in God, but that He was with her that night.
“I prayed. He spoke to me. He’s the reason that I’m here today,” she said.
She said she got to know Sposito through her brother, who was very close to her. He told her a lot about Sposito, their family, and what they did together.
“He never gave up,” she said. “He never, ever gave up, never wavered. And today, she’s free. Cathy, you’re free. We’re always going to be tied together. We’re always going to have a connection. She will be with me till the day I die.”
The sheriff said he was grateful to the detectives who never gave up on the case, even after it went cold.
“This is a case that has haunted our community for decades,” he said. “I am so proud of the work that our detectives have done to bring closure to this case.”
The case is a reminder that even cold cases can be solved with the help of DNA evidence. It is also a reminder of the dangers of sexual assault and the importance of fighting for justice for victims.