The Journal Gazette
Wednesday, May 18, 2022 1:00 am

Murder trial likely to go to jury today

Man, 22, accused of killing 4 people

JAMES D. WOLF JR. | The Journal Gazette

Jurors could reach a verdict today in the trial of Cohen B. Hancz-Barron, 22, accused of the June 3 slaying of his girlfriend and her three children.

The jurors are scheduled to hear closing arguments in the morning and then go into deliberations.

Testimony ended Tuesday morning.

Hancz-Barron is charged with four counts of murder in the deaths by knife of 26-year-old Sarah Zent, and her children: Carter Mathew Zent, 5; Ashton Duwayne Zent, 3; and Aubree Christine Zent, 2.

If he's convicted of the murder charges, Hancz also faces a sentence enhancement of life without parole. Prosecutors may request a sentence enhancement for aggravating circumstances, including when a victim is younger than 12 years old.

Hancz-Barron allegedly killed the four in their house near the intersection of Gay and McKee streets by using a knife to stab their throats multiple times. He's also accused of stealing a neighbor's truck and driving to Lafayette afterward.

The prosecution used surveillance videos from cameras near the home to show Hancz-Barron was in the house around the time of the killings and that no one else is seen entering or leaving that night.

The defense declined to cross-examine many witnesses, and in opening statements, defense attorney Tony Churchward said that the prosecution only had circumstantial evidence and no facts or viable confessions to prove Hancz-Barron committed the homicides.

Testimony in the trial began May 11, and the courtroom is reserved through Friday.

The trial has been an emotional one, and during jury selection May 10, parts of the courthouse near the courtroom were blocked off.

Family and friends of the Zent family filled the gallery seats to watch the trial.

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