On Friday, a jury found Jason Sanford not guilty of the 2000 killing of his girlfriend Sarah Davis Perry.
Perry’s body was found stuffed in a garbage can by two boys playing in Spring Creek in June of 2000. A medical examiner’s report said the woman died from strangulation.
Sanford, 45, was indicted for murder in 2016 after investigators from the Hamilton County District Attorney’s cold case unit reopened the probe. Sanford was considered a suspect in 2000 and according to prosecutors told his cousin, Michel Penterics, that he had killed Perry and took off to Michigan on June 15, 2000, the same day the boys discovered her body in the in the creek in East Ridge.
During the four day trial before Judge Tom Greenholtz, jurors heard from one witness who said she saw a man she identified as Sanford driving a white pickup truck with a garbage can in the back near where the body was discovered.
Another witness testified that Sanford was at Perry’s duplex the night before her body was discovered.
The jurors heard a videotaped deposition that Penterics gave in 2017 before succumbing to cancer. In it he said that Sanford came to his house on June 15, 2000 and admitted to the killing.
Sanford’s defense team, Amanda Dunn and Johnny Houston, contended that the state’s witnesses were not credible and none of Sanford’s DNA was found on objects that may have been used in the killing. The defense argued that Penterics changed his story several times about what Sanford told him in regard to the victim. In addition, Penterics may have held a grudge against Perry because of a previous drug charge the two faced in Georgia.
Sanford’s attorneys maintained that the witness who put Sanford in the victim’s duplex the night before her death only heard banging inside the unit and never actually saw the accused man.
Sanford’s attorneys argued that Sanford began making arrangements to go back to his home state of Michigan on June 13, 2000 after Perry checked herself out of a psychiatric facility and attempted to purchase drugs. The prosecution, attorney Houston said, could not place Sanford in the same place as Perry after that time.