FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Cohen Hancz-Barron, convicted of stabbing and killing a mother and her three small children, will now appeal Friday’s sentence of life in prison, without any hope of parole.
Hancz-Barron, now 22, appeared in Allen Superior Court in front of Judge Fran Gull, the same judge who presided over his two week trial in May and sentenced him to four consecutive life sentences Friday, didn’t come to court Tuesday morning for a court hearing to be advised of his rights. Instead he was live on camera, wearing orange prison stripes.
Responding with a “yes ma’am” or “ma’am,” Hancz Barron declared his resolution to appeal his sentence. He has 30 days to change his mind, Gull said. One of his attorneys, William Lebrato, the county’s chief public defender, appeared in court as did Tesa Helge, Allen County deputy prosecutor.
Helge waved to several people impacted by the killings Gull called “horrific,” so horrific that she worried not only for the families that were impacted, but how it affected prosecutors, attorneys and court staff. Autopsy photos showed Sarah Zent, 26, the children’s mother, in a praying pose on the edge of a bed where she’d been ligated and stabbed. Her children, Carter, 5; Ashton, 3; and Aubree, 2, were arranged on the bed around her, face down.
Gull had to consider aggravating factors – a substance abuse problem, mental illness and an unstable childhood – but found nothing to change her mind that the deaths were inexcusable on any account.
At this court hearing, Melanie Fields, Sarah’s mother, and Aubree’s family attended but didn’t speak.
“I’m going to miss you guys,” Helge told the families. As Fields stood at the rail, tearing up with emotion, Helge reassured her that Hancz Barron wouldn’t be coming back.
“It’s over,” Helge said before giving Fields a huge. “He’s gone. You’ll never have to see him again.”
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