Shawn E. Ford Jr., 18, of Akron, appeared by video for his arraignment Wednesday afternoon before Barberton Municipal Court Judge Christine Croce and entered a technical not guilty plea. Ford was represented by Akron attorney Jonathan Sinn.
A county grand jury will review the evidence against a man charged with the murders of New Franklin couple Jeffrey and Margaret “Peg” Schobert.
Shawn E. Ford Jr., 18, of Akron, appeared by video for his arraignment Wednesday afternoon before Barberton Municipal Court Judge Christine Croce. Ford was represented by Akron attorney Jonathan Sinn.
Ford sat quietly in a room at the Summit County Jail while Croce read the charges against him, including two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of grand theft motor vehicle. The murder, burglary and robbery charges are all first-degree felonies, while the grand theft motor vehicle charge is a fourth-degree felony.
Ford waived his right to a preliminary hearing, sending the case to a county grand jury. Ford’s bond remains $2 million.
Whether or not Ford could face the death penalty was not addressed at the arraignment. That decision will be made as part of the grand jury proceedings. Prosecutors have suggested that they intend to push for the death penalty.
After the hearing, Sinn spoke with members of Ford’s family before fielding questions about the case, his client’s state of mind and Ford’s relationship to the Schobert family.
“At this point in the process, it’s not appropriate for Shawn and I to discuss that,” Sinn said when asked about speculation that Ford was angry with the Schoberts because they had prevented him from seeing their daughter, Chelsea Schobert, in the hospital after she was assaulted March 23. According to police, Chelsea Schobert was stabbed and suffered a skull fracture in that attack.
It’s also unclear how Ford is connected to Jamal Vaughn, a 14-year-old Akron charged as an accomplice.
“My understanding,” Sinn said, “is that what’s been said to the police department is that they (Ford and Vaughn) were friends.”
Vaughn appeared Monday in Summit County Juvenile Court. He faces two juvenile counts each of aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and one juvenile count of aggravated burglary.
When asked about Ford’s state of mind, Sinn took a long pause and said, “Right now, he is at a loss. His family is grieving … it is a very difficult situation. He feels the pressure vividly.”
Sinn concluded by saying he would visit Ford at the jail and put together a defense he said would lead to “the best outcome for everybody.”