(WWLP) – A dramatic conclusion to a decades-old murder mystery, that has haunted western Massachusetts for years.

Gary Schara has pleaded guilty to killing Lisa Ziegert back in 1992, a gruesome murder that was recounted in court Wednesday.

Ziegert was a middle school teacher in Agawam who disappeared from her second job at a card store, in April of 1992. One week later, her body was found dumped in the woods.

Her killer managed to evade police for decades until new evidence emerged in 2016. For the first time ever, we saw a snapshot of Lisa’s killer.


Suspect sketches released in Lisa Ziegert murder case

The 22News I-Team traveled to Parabon Nanolabs in Virginia at the time, where they showed us how they used DNA evidence, to create a composite sketch of her killer.

22News I-Team – How good is this service at actually predicting what the person looks like?

Parobon Nanolabs – These are predictions, they”re not the absolute perfect truth every time.

One year after that sketch was released, there was a break in the case. Hampden DA Anthony Gulluni announced the arrest of Gary Schara.

Gary Schara arrested in murder of Lisa Ziegert

Schara has spent the past two years in jail awaiting trial, but after a sudden change in plea, that wait is now over.

“You’re pleading guilty to this charge of murder in the first degree of Lisa Ziegert because you are guilty and for no other reason, is that correct?”

Hampden County Superior Court Judge

That’s correct.

Gary Schara

A shocking conclusion to a murder case, that western Massachusetts can finally put to rest.

Gary Schara pleads guilty in the murder of Lisa Ziegert