Wood County Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for 1984 Murder

Feb 17 2023

WOOD COUNTY, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Justice today announced that Wood County Judge Nicholas J. Brazeau, Jr. sentenced John A. Sarver, 59, of Port Edwards, Wis., to life in prison, on February 17, 2023, in connection to the November 26, 1984, murder of Eleanore Roberts, 73, of Saratoga, Wis.


“The conviction and sentence in this case were possible because of the efforts of many people who didn’t give up on holding the person who committed this terrible crime accountable,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “Thank you to everyone whose work helped bring the defendant to justice.”


A jury found Mr. Sarver guilty after an 8-day trial in November of 2022. The evidence presented at trial established that Mr. Sarver entered Mrs. Roberts’ home in Saratoga, Wis. on the night of November 26, 1984, and beat and stabbed Mrs. Roberts with scissors. Advances in DNA testing over the years showed the defendant’s DNA on evidence presented at trial.


The conviction was the result of 38 years of investigation by the Wood County Sheriff’s Department and the Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI) and the Wisconsin State Crime Lab.


The case was tried by Wisconsin Department of Justice Assistant Attorneys General Adrienne Blais and Nathaniel Adamson. The prosecution team also included Wisconsin Department of Justice Paralegal Rochelle Ederer, as well as DCI Special Agents Andrew Simon and Shane Heiser. Victim/witness services were provided by Hannah Wrobel and Mary Ann Groth of the Wisconsin Department of Justice Office of Crime Victim Services.


Mr. Sarver is not eligible for parole until he has served at least 20 years.