The Journal Gazette
Thursday, February 06, 2020 3:40 pm

Man charged in fatal arson fires could face death penalty

Associated Press


AKRON, Ohio – An Ohio man facing trial on charges that he killed nine people in two arson fires in his neighborhood can be sentenced to death if convicted, a judge in Akron ruled Thursday.

Attorneys for Stanley Ford, 60, of Akron, previously argued that the death penalty should be removed as a sentencing option because Ford suffers from dementia and brain damage, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

Ford is charged with killing two people in an arson fire near his home in 2016, and seven people, including five children, in another arson fire in 2017. Authorities have accused Ford of setting both fires.

Summit County Judge Christine Croce ruled that while evidence shows Ford has “some type” of vascular-related brain disease, experts did not reach a consensus on what effect it has on his cognitive function. Croce previously ruled that Ford is competent to stand trial.

Ford's trial is scheduled to begin March 10. If a jury convicts him of aggravated murder charges, it will then decide whether to recommend that Croce sentence him to death.

Defense attorneys and prosecutors are not allowed to comment about the case because of a gag order Croce imposed.

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