The suspect in the 1992 abduction, rape and killing of a Massachusetts teacher's aide changed his plea to guilty Wednesday and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
Gary Schara, 50, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Lisa Ziegert, a teacher's aide at Agawam Middle School when she disappeared from her second job at a card and gift store where she was working alone.
When a co-worker arrived for work the next morning, the store was open, the lights were on and the 24-year-old Agawam woman's car was still in the parking lot.
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Her body was found in a nearby wooded area four days later.
The case remained unsolved until the now 50-year-old Schara was arrested in September 2017 after testing confirmed his DNA matched evidence found at the crime scene.
Schara had previously pleaded not guilty.
Schara was initially charged with kidnapping and aggravated rape, but those charges were dropped because of the statute of limitations, Hamden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni said.
After Gulluni outlined the facts of the case in court, Judge Michael Callan asked Schara: "Are you the person described in those facts who murdered Lisa Zeigert?"
"Yes sir," Schara said.
The plea brought little consolation to Ziegert's relatives, who said they still live with her loss every day.
"I am very satisfied with his outcome," the victim's mother, Dee Ziegert, said at a news conference after the court hearing. "I can't be euphoric. Lisa can't come back. But this is the best possible result we could have had."