'We've been on an emotional roller coaster': Family of Akron house fire victims speaks in court

Posted at 2:18 PM, Aug 02, 2017

The man charged in the deaths of seven adults and two children in two separate Akron house fires was arraigned in court on Wednesday.

Stanley Ford, 58, of Akron was indicted in connection with three separate fires, two of which were deadly. All of the fires were within a block of Ford's residence on Hillcrest Street.

RELATED: Authorities rule arson as cause of Akron house fire that killed seven people: One suspect arrested

Prosecutor Margaret Scott read off 29 charges against Ford that included 22 counts of aggravated murder and two counts of attempted aggravated murder.

Ford's defense team entered a not guilty plea to all 29 counts. Ford is being held on a $7 million bond.

The family of Dennis Huggins, who was killed in the house on May 15 that killed an additional six people, appeared at court. Huggins' brother, who is a pastor in the Akron area, reacted to the judicial process thus far and his family's loss.

"I'm just really trying to maintain my composure. Stay composed and let the judicial process take place. That's kind of basically where my emotions are right now," he said. "When it all happened and of course since then, we have all been on an emotional roller coaster but now that the process is underway, everything coming back. Seeing him [Ford] and seeing the other families of the other victims, it just stirs up a lot in you. It's hard. It's just really praying and just trying to maintain my composure."

The family wept while the judge read the counts, which lasted around an hour and a half. 

"One day at a time. The loss we have suffered is great. We are taking one day at a time and we wanted it to be over with but we want every stone turned over and not leave anything on the table, how ever long it takes, I'm okay with that."

RELATED: Deadly Akron house fire on the same street as another deadly blaze last year

In response to a possible death penalty conviction, the brother of Dennis Huggins said the law has already been written and established. 

"The governments, the judicial systems and the laws and the people in those places and in those positions because God has placed them there. The law is in their hands," he said. "They didn't ask me when they wrote it so I'm not going to ask them how to execute it."