Woman Pleads Guilty In Fatal Central Ohio Stabbing From 1987

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Emotion that simmered for 27 years, spilled out of the family of a Columbus murder victim and into a Franklin County courtroom.

"I did love her. And I still love her," said Linda Cook, niece of murder victim Anna Mae Florence. "She meant a lot to the whole family."

Florence was stabbed to death in 1987.

Her family gathered at the courthouse to watch as a judge sentenced 50-year-old Zina Roberson for the crime.

Roberson had been living in Rome, Georgia until last year. Columbus cold case detectives caught up with her after new fingerprint evidence connected her to the killing. Detectives also found a witness to whom she confessed.

Today, she confessed again.

"I am so sorry. I wish I could bring her back, but I can't," Roberson said.

Roberson says she stabbed Florence after she grabbed a butcher knife to defend herself inside her home.

Before sentencing, Cook told the court that she was still in pain because of the killing.   "I had part of the responsibility to go back to that apartment where was killed and clean-up that mess and get that stuff out," Cook said. "And I am still wounded."

Judge Julie Lynch called the murder "reprehensible" and sentenced Roberson to 15-years-to-life in prison.

Despite the sentence, Florence's nephew said the emotional wounds continue.

"It's so much pain, you know," said Larry Cook.  He could not finish the sentence and walked away in tears.