Ed Meyer

A Summit County judge told the 20-year-old daughter of a slain New Franklin couple that her primary objective should be “living the life your parents wanted you to live.”

Common Pleas Judge Christine Croce then granted Chelsea Schobert’s early release from prison after she had served 10 months of a 2½-year sentence for drug trafficking.

Schobert’s release came with a stern warning about what her priorities must be with an infant daughter born last summer while she was incarcerated.

There will be “no excuses,” Croce said.

Under terms of the release, Croce placed Schobert on two years’ probation with random drug testing, told her she must find a full-time job or continue her education, and ordered her to report to her probation officer twice a month, beginning promptly at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

That wasn’t the end of it.

Schobert was ordered to undergo an assessment for drug or alcohol dependency “to make sure there’s no need for any in-patient or out-patient treatment,” the judge said.

“I need to know that the changes you have made so far are going to continue. All I want for you,” Croce said, “is to come out of this on the other side: successful, living a law-abiding life, living the life your parents wanted you to live and being a good parent.”

Schobert’s former boyfriend, Shawn Eric Ford Jr., also 20, is awaiting sentencing on a capital murder conviction in the April 2013 bludgeoning deaths of her parents, prominent area attorney Jeffrey Schobert and his wife, Margaret, at their home in New Franklin.

A jury recommended death for Ford, but the case is on hold while the court considers a defense claim that the young man has a mental disability.

Croce’s orders for Schobert referred to another man in her life: Chauncey Lee Williams, 33, who has a history of felony arrests dating back to 2000. They were arrested together on multiple drug charges in February 2014, and Williams, the baby’s father, is in the midst of a 4½-year prison sentence.

The judge warned Schobert that she must avoid him, too, once he gets out.

“You’re going to be confronted, because of your daughter, with all of these other people — whether you change your life or not,” Croce said.

Schobert, who thanked the judge for sending her to prison, gave assurances that she would change.

“I’m blessed to have my daughter,” she told Croce. “She means the world to me. It’s all I care about.”

Schobert said she hopes to move out of Akron soon and begin a life somewhere else with the help of her older sister, Jessica Schobert, a Capital University student who lives in Columbus.

They apparently have reconciled, and Chelsea Schobert said her sister has told her that she will help with the baby. Schobert’s lawyer, Noah Munyer, said the child, now in foster care, should join her mother soon under a juvenile court parenting plan.

Croce gave one other warning to Schobert: Her feet will be kept to the fire, and any probation violations will result in a return to prison to complete her sentence.

If that happens, the judge warned, Schobert’s daughter will be well past 2 years old before she sees her mother free again.

Ed Meyer can be reached at 330-996-3784 or emeyer@thebeaconjournal.com.