Man linked to 2009 Laurel murder by DNA match found guilty

A man who Laurel Police linked to a 2009 homicide using forensic evidence was found guilty Thursday of first degree murder and robbery in Maryland Circuit Court.

Clark McKnight, 45, was arrested in July 2011 and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Laurel resident Anthony Sparacino, who was found dead in his Dorset Road home in October 2009. Sparacino, who was 44, had been dead for at least two days before police found him. A medical examiner determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.

When McKnight was arrested in 2011, two years after Sparacino's death, he was already incarcerated in a federal jail on unrelated charges. Police said a DNA match led them to McKnight.

The conviction came after a four-day trial that began Feb. 25. Sentencing for McKnight is scheduled for April 19.

In a statement released by the city today, Laurel Police Chief Richard McLaughlin said "justice has been served in this case."

According to city officials, since the 2009 death of Sparacino, a murder-suicide was reported in the city in 2011 but no homicides were reported in 2010 or 2012.

In the released statement, Laurel Mayor Craig Moe expressed his indebtedness to members of the Laurel Police Department for "their skill and dedication making Laurel a safer place to live, work and enjoy."

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