WALLINGFORD — A Lyman Hall High School graduate living in Florida has been charged in a 1998 homicide after apparently eluding police for more than two decades.
Todd Barket, 51, of Brandon, Florida, was charged March 31 with first-degree murder in the August 1998 death of Sondra Better in Delray Beach, Florida.
Police had no suspects in the cold case until learning that a fingerprint from Barket, which he provided as part of a job application in December, 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.
Police said in the document that Better had several apparent injuries, including stab wounds to the back of the neck and blunt force trauma to the head and hands.
Officers also noticed what appeared to be a shattered ashtray on the floor, three decorative balls in the vicinity that had been removed from their packaging, and an empty box intended for a cake cutter, according to the affidavit.
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.
According to the affidavit, Barket’s prints, provided the previous month as part of a background check for a job application, matched those found on one of the decorative balls at the scene. Barket told police he couldn’t recall ever being in the Lu Shay Consignment Shop, but that it was possible, according to the affidavit.
He acknowledged going to consignment shops in Delray Beach and Boca Raton during that time period, but that they were mostly clothing consignment stores, the document states.
Barket grew up in Wallingford and attended Lyman Hall, playing quarterback for the school’s only state football championship in 1985.
According to court records, Barket was born at New Britain Hospital. A 2014 obituary for Anthony Barket indicated that his son Todd Barket had already been living in Florida with his wife.
According to Wallingford property records, Anthony Barket purchased a home in Wallingford in September 1968, eight months after Todd Barket was born, and owned the home until 2012.
Facebook profiles for both Todd Barket and his wife indicate they live in Florida but are from Wallingford. Barket also appears has a scar on his right cheek that matches a police description in the affidavit.