The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Unsolved podcast explores the promising leads, false starts and open questions in the case of John Zera, a Franklin teenager who was murdered in February of 1976. No one has ever been arrested and charged in the case.
While Gina Barton, the Journal Sentinel reporter behind the series, hoped the additional attention it received would help crack the case, it remains unsolved. Unsolved did help jumpstart a renewed investigation, she says, with officials are reexamining key facts of the case, and even retesting evidence.
“Chief Cera and Detective Justin Landry drove 370 miles one-way to Fairfield, Ohio to deliver John’s clothing and some of the other evidence for DNA testing... They wanted to hand deliver it and make sure that it got there unscathed,” says Barton.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the crime, but Barton feels that the passage of time may not be a hindrance. In fact, she thinks it could help bring closure to this case.
“I was really hoping that some of the new technology would help it come to a conclusion. That maybe the fact that forty years have gone by isn’t a negative thing, maybe that’s a positive thing because think about how much is different in terms of crime scene investigation and evidence analysis and things like that over the past 40 years,” says Barton. “I’m not certain that they’ll solve it even now, but I still have some hope.”