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Allen County jury convicts man of 2021 murder of his girlfriend and her three children

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Fort Wayne Police Department
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A jury has convicted a man in the killings of a woman and her three children slain last year in their northeastern Indiana home.

An Allen County Superior Court jury found 22-year-old Cohen Hancz-Barron of Fort Wayne guilty Thursday morning of four counts of murder following a seven-day trial in the June 2021 deaths of his girlfriend and her three children.

The Journal Gazette reports that attorneys were expected to begin the sentencing phase of the trial Thursday morning.

Prosecutors are asking that the jury recommend life in prison without parole for Hancz-Barron. The bodies of 26-year-old Sarah Nicole Zent; her sons, 5-year-old Carter and 3-year-old Ashton; and 2-year-old daughter Aubree were found June 2 in a Fort Wayne home.

According to Indiana court records, Hancz-Barron pleaded guilty to robbery as a level 5 felony in 2020 in Starke County, and was given a six-year suspended sentence to be served on electronic home monitoring.

According to Stark County documents, Hancz-Barron was allowed to serve his sentence at a residential treatment facility in Tippecanoe County. On April 19, 2021 he cut his ankle monitor and escaped.

He was wanted by police at the time of the killings.

The Allen County Prosecutor is seeking a penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Under Indiana law, that penalty must be decided by a jury.

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.