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Sarasota PD makes major break in 1988 homicide case

Posted at 4:04 PM, Dec 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-04 17:24:11-05

Sarasota detectives said they have made a break in a cold case form 1988.

In July of 1988, a jogger found a woman’s body in a field next to Booker High School. The woman had been beaten and strangled. Detectives later identified the victim as 23-year-old Judith Doherty.

Detective Anthony DeFranciso reopened the case a few years ago and submitted DNA evidence after advances in technology.

“We revealed a match,” said DeFrancisco.

He said the match belonged to David Stephens. Stephens is already serving time in a Florida prison after being convicted of sexual assault with a deadly weapon in 1989.

“He was scheduled to get out within the next two years,” said DeFranciso.

Detectives filed a murder charge on Stephens this week.

Judith’s sister, Karen Aron, said the family never gave up hope. She made a promise to her little sister years ago.

“I promise you before I leave this world you will see justice, somehow it’s going to happen,” said Aron.

Detectives believe Stephens will never be released from prison if he’s convicted of murder.