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Coronavirus concerns suspend testimony in trial of man charged with killing 9 in Akron fires

Stanley Ford
Posted at 4:20 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 16:20:40-04

AKRON, Ohio — Testimony in the trial of Stanley Ford, the man accused of killing nine people in two separate fires in Akron, has been suspended due to coronavirus COVID-19 concerns, according to the Summit County Common Pleas Court.

Ford, 60, is facing 28 charges, including multiple counts of aggravated murder in connection with three Akron fires that happened in 2016 and 2017. Ford has maintained his innocence.

In April of 2016, Lindell Lewis, 65, and his girlfriend, Gloria Jean Hart, 66, were killed in a fire at their home at 719 Fultz Street. In January of 2017, an SUV parked in the driveway of a home on Russell Avenue was set on fire. No one was injured.

In May of 2017, seven people were killed in a house fire at 693 Fultz Street. The victims were identified as Dennis Huggins, 35, Angela Boggs, 38, and their five children, Cameron Huggins, 1, Alivia Huggins, 3, Kyle Huggins, 5, Daisia Huggins, 6, and Jared Boggs, who was 14. That fire was the deadliest in Akron's history.

Judge Christine Croce made the decision to suspend testimony in the case until April 1, based on health and public safety recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.

The jury is comprised of three individuals over the age of 65 and five individuals between 60 and 65 years old. Summit County Common Pleas Court said it will conduct conference calls with each juror for health check-ups and listen to any conflicts they might have.

The evidentiary hearing will proceed on Friday as scheduled, according to the Summit County Common Pleas Court.

If convicted, Ford could face the death penalty.

RELATED: Trial begins for Stanley Ford, man charged with killing 9 in two Akron fires