WALLINGFORD — A former town resident living in Florida pleaded not guilty last week to charges in connection with a cold case two decades old.
Todd Barket, 51, of Brandon, Florida, was arrested March 31 and charged in the August 1998 death of Sondra Better in Delray Beach, Florida.
Barket pleaded not guilty May 14 to first-degree murder with a deadly weapon and robbery with a deadly weapon.
Barket grew up in Wallingford and attended Lyman Hall High School, playing quarterback for the school’s only state football championship team in 1985.
Police had no suspects in the case of Better’s killing until learning that a fingerprint from Barket, which he provided as part of a job application in December 2018, matched one found at the scene of the homicide 20 years earlier, according to an affidavit supporting his arrest.
According to the document, police were called to Lu Shay Consignment Shop just before 4 p.m. on Aug. 24, 1998, for an unresponsive woman. Police said they arrived to find Better on the floor and a pool of blood around her head.
The Palm Beach Medical Examiner's Office determined the death was a homicide. Police, though, hadn’t identified Barket as their suspect until January, when they learned of a potential match for fingerprints gathered at the scene.