Cleveland man pleads not guilty to 1987 murder in Cuyahoga Falls

Cleveland man pleads not guilty to 1987 murder in Cuyahoga Falls
James Zastawnik (Source: Cuyahoga Falls Police Department)

STOW, Ohio (WOIO) - A Cleveland man arrested Wednesday for the murder of a woman in 1987, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment via video in Stow Municipal Court.

He is charged with killing a woman in Cuyahoga Falls in 1987.
He is charged with killing a woman in Cuyahoga Falls in 1987. (Source: WOIO)

Cuyahoga Falls police arrested James Zastawnik, 67, on Wednesday.

He is charged with killing Barbara Blatnik, 17, of Garfield Heights.

The body of Barbara Blatnik, 17, was found on Dec. 20, 1987.
The body of Barbara Blatnik, 17, was found on Dec. 20, 1987.

Her nude body was found on Dec. 20, 1987 in a wooded area on O’Neil Road near Blossom Music Center. Police said her injuries are consistent with being strangled.

Barbara Blatnik's body was found in a wooded area on O'Neil Road in Cuyahoga Falls.
Barbara Blatnik's body was found in a wooded area on O'Neil Road in Cuyahoga Falls. (Source: Michael Dakota)

According to police, Blatnik was last seen alive the night before, when she was dropped off by a friend at the corner of Warner Road and Grand Division in Garfield Heights.

“It is great to see justice done for Barbara Blatnik. The detectives who worked on this over the years never gave up on finding the killer especially Detective Tlumac. This is also a great example of cooperation between law enforcement, the Porchlight Project, and BCI coming together to creatively look for a solution to resolving a brutal murder,” said Cuyahoga Falls Police Chief Jack Davis.

Police said Zastawnik was linked to the crime through new evidence that was provided through advancement in DNA technology.

Zastawnik is being held on a $1 million bond.

Copyright 2020 WOIO. All rights reserved.