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

Posted at 12:00 PM, Mar 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-10 21:10:21-04

AKRON, Ohio — The trial is underway for Stanley Ford, the man charged with more murders than anyone in Summit County history.

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 at 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.

The jury visited the crime scenes Tuesday morning, taking notice of the burned house where the Huggins and Boggs family lived, the empty lot where the home of Lewis and Hart once stood, and the proximity of Ford's home.

Investigators believe Ford set the fires because he had beefs with each of the neighbors.

"The evidence in this case is going to show that the defendant gets angry at his neighbors, his troublesome neighbors, and he burns down their property and he killed them," said Assistant Summit County Prosecutor Joe Dangelo."

Neighborhood surveillance video could be critical to the case. A camera mounted on the home of the 2016 victims showed a man trying to start the house on fire three times. Prosecutors contend that man was Ford.

Investigators believe another grainy video from 2017 captured Ford walking in the middle of the night around the time the fire was set that killed seven family members.

However, during his opening statement, defense attorney Scott Rilley, said there are two sides to every story and told the jury they will hear about several possible suspects.

"There are other viable suspects, multiple suspects, each of these multiple suspects with their own set of motivations," Rilley said.

Ford jury
The jury in the Stanley Ford trial visiting a crime scene.

Testimony is expected on Wednesday and prosecutors also plan to play 911 calls from the fires.

If convicted, Ford could face the death penalty.