Former truck driver from Arizona charged in 1992 Austintown cold case

Local News

A former truck driver from Arizona is facing charges in a nearly-30-year-old cold case in Austintown. 

Investigators say DNA testing linked Samuel Legg, III to a 1997 Medina County rape case and four unsolved homicides in Illinois and Ohio. 

Locally, Legg faces charges related to the death of Sharon Kedzierski, who was found dead in April 1992 behind a former truck stop off of Route 46 in Austintown. She had been badly beaten.

Although Kedzierski’s family in Pembroke Pines, Florida reported her missing in March of 1992, her body wasn’t identified until 20 years after her death, using DNA.

At the time she was discovered, she was listed as a “Jane Doe” because DNA analysis wasn’t available, and she had no distinguishing features. 

Originally, investigators believed that a Kentucky truck driver killed her, but he was later cleared in the case. 

Prosecutors say a Bureau of Criminal Investigation’s analyst started taking a new look at unmatched DNA samples in 2017, including some sent in by local investigators to see where they would lead.

“Based upon her analysis and her findings, Samuel Legg, III was identified as a possible match,” said Prosecutor Paul Gains. 

Prosecutors said they believe Legg — who was a truck driver with an Ohio license at the time of the murder — beat, strangled and raped Kedzierski, but they wouldn’t say how the two were connected.

Thursday, a Mahoning County grand jury indicted Legg three counts of aggravated murder and one count of murder in Kedzierski’s case.

Gains said the statute of limitations has passed to charge Legg with aggravated robbery or rape. 

He said he is glad to bring some closure to Kedzierski’s family.

“It’s part of the rewarding features of this job, is to get justice for these victims and to see that they discover what happened to their loved ones, and I wish we could do it in all cases,” he said. 

For now, Legg remains in the Medina County Jail, but he could be brought here later this month. 

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