Background check leads to 1998 Delray Beach murder arrest

Police say fingerprints, DNA evidence link Todd Barket to woman's killing

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor
WPBF/Delray Beach Police Department

Delray Beach police say fingerprints and DNA evidence link Todd Barket to the 1998 beating and strangulation of Sondra Better.

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. - Almost 20 years after a woman was found beaten and stabbed to death in a Delray Beach consignment shop, a former South Florida resident has been arrested in connection with the crime.

Todd Barket was arrested Wednesday morning on a charge of first-degree murder.

Delray Beach police spokeswoman Dani Moschella said fingerprints and DNA evidence found at the crime scene link Barket to the killing of Sondra Better, whose body was found inside Lu Shay's Consignment on Aug. 24, 1998.

Moschella said Better, 68, was stabbed and bludgeoned to death while working alone at the store.
Droplets of the killer's blood led from Better's body to the cash register drawer and out the front door to the sidewalk. The killer also left his fingerprints behind on a decorative ball, but police were unable to find a match.

WPBF

The body of Sondra Better is removed from Lu Shay's Consignment after she was found beaten and stabbed to death, Aug. 24, 1998, in Delray Beach, Florida.

That is until recently, when Barket, who was applying for a job, submitted his fingerprints for a background check, Moschella said.

An arrest warrant was issued for Barket, a 51-year-old Brandon man who lived in Lantana at the time of the killing, and he was taken into custody in Hillsborough County just before 8 a.m.

Moschella said the killer's fingerprints and blood samples had been entered into national databases, but there were no matches until December, when Barket submitted his fingerprints for a background check by a prospective employer. She said DNA collected at the scene also matched Barket's DNA.

Barket was being held without bond at a Hillsborough County jail. He is expected to be transferred to a Palm Beach County jail.

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