BARBERTON: Bond was set at $2 million Friday for a man investigators say killed a prominent couple with a sledgehammer inside their New Franklin home.
Shawn E. Ford Jr., 18, made an initial appearance before Municipal Judge David Fish, who read a long list of charges in the case, including two counts of aggravated murder.
Ford is accused of bludgeoning Jeffrey Schobert, 56, and his wife, Margaret “Peg” Schobert, 59, to death early Tuesday in the master bedroom of their Rex Lake Drive home.
A construction worker, among a crew doing a remodeling job at the home, found the bodies about 2:20 p.m. Tuesday.
Later Friday, prosecutors also charged Ford with felonious assault in the March 23 attack on Chelsea Schobert, 18, a daughter of the couple. He is scheduled to appear by video at 8 a.m. today for a hearing in that case.
Police have said Ford was Chelsea Schobert’s boyfriend.
Akron prosecutors on Thursday dismissed a similar felonious-assault charge filed against Jamayne Ruiz, 24, in connection with the violent attack on Chelsea Schobert, which included a serious head injury when she was beaten and stabbed repeatedly.
Ruiz had been in Summit County Jail since his arrest March 26. He was freed from custody about 6 p.m. Thursday.
Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards said the collaborative effort between Akron and New Franklin police in the homicide investigation led them to charge Ford and drop the charges against Ruiz in the assault case.
“Ruiz was identified by witnesses and the suspect when [Ruiz] was charged, and we have since learned that Shawn Ford is the suspect,” Edwards said.
Prosecutors dropped the charges against Ruiz “with prejudice,” which means he cannot be charged for that offense again.
What Chelsea Schobert told investigators in the aftermath of her attack, which occurred at a home on Andrus Street in Akron, is not known.
“I’m not going to comment on what she actually said to investigators,” Edwards said.
Officials at Akron Children’s Hospital, where Chelsea Schobert was taken after suffering the stab wounds and a skull fracture, have declined to acknowledge whether she remains there recovering from her wounds.
“I know she is coherent now and able to talk. Prior to that, I don’t know,” Edwards said Friday.
At his court appearance Friday morning, Ford told the judge he has no money and cannot afford an attorney. Fish said he will appoint one and set the next hearing in the case for 1 p.m. Wednesday.
For much of the time he was in the courtroom, Ford sat slumped on a wooden bench with his head in his hands. He was dressed in white-and-gray-striped jail clothing, and his hands and legs were restrained.
“This is one of the most brutal that I’ve seen,” Holly Reese, assistant prosecutor for Barberton, said of the case. She said New Franklin police have put together a “solid case” and believes the Summit County Prosecutor’s Office will not have a problem getting a conviction when Ford goes to trial.
“I believe there is probable cause for these charges,” she said.
Fish later appointed Jonathan T. Sinn as the attorney of record in the aggravated murder case against Ford.
“I will be spending some time this weekend meeting with him and discussing how to proceed,” Sinn said. “At this point, we don’t have any information beyond what’s out there in the press. But I will be evaluating the case as the investigation unfolds, deciding which direction to go.”
Sinn declined to comment on the felonious assault case against Ford.
New Franklin Detective Mike Hitchings said the department is trying to determine if anyone else was involved in the slayings.
“It was a bad scene. It was a horrific scene,” he said of the Schoberts’ home.
“I don’t like to judge anyone,” Hitchings said. “It is a horrific crime. I don’t know how anyone could do anything like that, but it did happen.”
Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or email@example.com.