Ohio man guilty of killing 9 people in multiple house fires

Posted at 7:53 PM, September 21, 2021 and last updated 6:36 AM, September 22, 2021

AKRON, Ohio (Court TV) — A jury found Stanley Ford guilty of aggravated murder in the deaths of nine neighbors — including five children — by setting fires. Ford’s guilt on all counts of aggravated murder makes him eligible for the death penalty. The sentencing phase will begin Monday.

 

  • Ford not guilty of prohibitions concerning companion animals, so he’s not guilty of all counts related to the 2017 fire.
  • Ford guilty of all counts for the 2016 fire, including aggravated murder for the deaths of Gloria Hart and Lindell Lewis
  • Ford guilty of all aggravated murder counts for the deaths of Dennis Huggins, Angela Boggs and their five children
  • Ford not guilty of arson for 2017 car fire
  • Ford not guilty of menacing Davante Ware (son of woman who owned car that was torched in 2017)
  • Ford not guilty of prohibitions concerning companion animals

ORIGINAL STORY:

AKRON, Ohio (Court TV) — A man accused of killing 9 people after setting multiple homes on fire is on trial after a series of delays.

Stanley Ford is facing nearly 30 charges in connection with three Akron, Ohio fires in 2016 and 2017, two of which were deadly.

In April of 2016, Lindell Lewis and his girlfriend, Gloria Jean Hart, were killed in a house fire. In May 2017, Dennis Huggins, Angela Boggs and their five children, between one and 14 years of age, died in a house fire. It was the deadliest fire in Akron’s history. Five months prior, an SUV was set on fire in the driveway of another home. No one was injured.

Ford, who was reportedly neighbors with the victims, has maintained his innocence. Investigators believe he set the fires because he had issues with each of the neighbors. During Ford’s first trial in March 2020, Assistant Summit Prosecutor Joe Dangelo said, “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.”

Investigators believe surveillance cameras show Ford setting the fires. Ford’s defense team is arguing there are many other suspects that had “their own set of motivations.”

Ford’s 2020 trial was reportedly suspended after only a few days of testimony due to COVID-19 concerns. In June 2020, a judge declared a mistrial after too many jurors had valid excuses and continuing concerns of COVID-19.

DAY 13 – 9/21/21

DAY 12 – 9/20/21

DAY 11 – 9/15/21

  • Summit County prosecutors rest their case after calling 39 witnesses over 10 days
  • Defense rests without calling any witnesses after their main prospect invokes his right against self-incrimination and the defendant declines to testify
  • Jury hears 20-minute clip of 3-hour interview with Ford after his arrest on May 23, 2017, in which he vehemently denies walking to the house or causing the fire as detective presses him to explain why he left his house that night
  • Lead case detective undergoes lengthy cross-examination
  • Defense questions Det. Troy Looney about information and possible leads that he did not confirm regarding other persons of interest
  • Defense accuses Looney of trying to create a “high-pressure environment” while interviewing Ford and “playing on [Ford’s] emotions”
  • On rebuttal, Looney explains how Patrick Boggs was cleared and why an inmate’s account implicated Boggs was deemed not credible
  • On rebuttal, Looney says he would play on someone’s emotions or even lie to get someone to confess to a murder
  • WATCH: Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 11

DAY 10 – 9/14/21

  • Jury hears defendant’s first post-Miranda interview in May 2017 in which the lead case detective reveals some of the video evidence implicating Ford
  • Looney explains how victim Angela Boggs’ ex-husband, Patrick Boggs, became a suspect and how he was cleared
  • Looney shows side-by-side video comparison of defendant walking and suspect walking on surveillance camera in an effort to prove they have a similar gait
  • Dr. Lisa Kohler testifies to cause and manner of death of the victims and where their bodies were found
  • Representatives from Verizon and AT&T authenticate cell phone records of Angela Boggs and Patrick Boggs
  • WATCH: Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 10

DAY 9 – 9/13/21

  • Forensic examiner Bradley Barkhurst returns to witness stand and walks jury through timeline of May 2017 fire compiled from surveillance video, alarm system records and 911 calls
  • Video shows someone going back forth on two occasions from the street Ford lived on toward the direction of 693 Fultz within an hour of the fire starting
  • Alarm panel records in Ford’s home show system was disarmed 15 minutes before victim Angie Boggs tried to call 911; alarm system armed within a minute of video showing someone running toward Ford’s home from the direction of 693
  • Neighbor testifies that Ford said the police had video of him going into his home around 2:30 a.m.
  • Defense and prosecution argue over admissibility of potential hearsay testimony from (1) inmate who claims victim Angie Boggs’ ex-husband confessed to starting the fire and (2) deputies who wrote reports about the inmate’s claim
  • Jury learns that Angie Boggs tried to place two calls to 911 at 2:43 a.m. and 2:45 a.m., suggesting the fire started close to then
  • WATCH: 9/13/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 9

DAY 8 – 9/10/21

  • Investigator Brian Peterman testifies fire at 693 Fultz Street was intentionally set in trash cans in front of the house and spread through the porch into home
  • Firefighters and fire investigators walk jury through several sets of photos showing how the fire nearly gutted the home and trapped the seven victims inside
  • Lt. Todd Webb identifies photos of the victims’ charred remains, barely recognizable amid the debris
  • Webb testifies Dennis Huggins was found on top of the bodies of three children; infant and family dog near the body of Angie Boggs; 14-year-old son found in stairwell
  • Judge overrules defense objection to showing victim’s bodies in 2017 fire scene photos as prejudicial
  • Forensic scientist detected gasoline on defendant’s sneakers collected from his home after 2017 fire
  • WATCH: 9/10/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 8

DAY 7 – 9/9/21

  • Defense lawyer Joe Gorman questions the case detective on the 2016 fire about leads she failed to pursue relevant to other suspects
  • Neighbor testifies Ford complained about one of the children he’s accused of killing in the May 2017 fire
  • Same neighbor said she didn’t believe Ford was responsible for the fires
  • Another neighbor describes the car fire Ford is accused of starting two days after he argued with her son
  • WATCH: 9/9/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 7

DAY 6 – 9/8/21

  • Forensic examiner details the early morning timeline of the 719 Fultz Street on April 18, 2016
  • Jury hears two interviews from 2016 in which Ford disparages his dead neighbors, but he denies involvement in house fire that killed them
  • Juror excused for hardship over difficulty finding childcare
  • WATCH: 9/8/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 6

DAY 5 – 9/3/21

  • In the first week of Stanley Ford’s aggravated murder trial, Summit County prosecutors call 19 witnesses, including neighbors, emergency responders and dispatchers, fire and police investigators, and an Alarm.com representative
  • Fire investigator testifies fire at Lindell Lewis’ home at 719 Fultz Street was set intentionally on the porch
  • Jury sees frame grabs of 719 porch camera video showing suspect setting fire
  • Gasoline and medium petroleum distillate (household products) found on porch debris, trace evidence examiner testifies
  • Medical examiner testifies Lindell Lewis and Gloria Hart died of soot and smoke inhalation; injury caused by breathed-in smoke from intentionally set house fire
  • WATCH: 9/3/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 5

DAY 4 – 9/2/21

  • Stanley Ford’s neighbor Thomas Hugley describes his own alleged petty squabbles with the defendant
  • Night of fire, Hugley said he heard victim Gloria Hart arguing with someone other than Lindell, someone Hugley believed was Ford
  • Hugley describes two other fires involving Lewis’ property: one at 719 Fultz home another one at family property
  • Fire investigator walks jurors through pictures of burned homes where a canine alerted the scent of accelerants
  • Fire investigator says canine was used to investigate relative of victim Angie Boggs
  • Prosecutors introduce records of defendant’s alarm system being armed and disarmed close to time fires started in 2016 and 2017 (VO in case elements and trial exhibits)
  • WATCH: 9/2/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 4

DAY 3 – 9/1/21

  • Neighbor testifies the defendant said he saw himself as an “angel of God” who had been sent to watch over the neighborhood
  • Same neighbor describes “wild” activity at home of victim Lindell Lewis: parties, guests drinking and smoking on the porch
  • Jury sees disturbing photo of the bodies of victims Lindell Lewis and Gloria side by side on the bathroom floor of Lewis’ torched home
  • Retired fire investigator: Ford said Lewis was a “vicious guy” and accused survivor Thomas Hugley of breaking into his home
  • Jury hears first mention of car fire that Ford is accused of causing
  • Defense draws attention to unplugged security cameras at other house across the street from Lewis home
  • WATCH: 9/1/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 3

DAY 2 – 8/31/21

  • Two neighbors describe acrimonious relationship between defendant Stanley Ford and victim Lindell Lewis
  • Neighbor Rebecca Wright misidentifies a bald Black detective sitting at prosecution table as the defendant
  • On what would have been Lewis’ 71st birthday, his sister Geraldine Lewis takes witness stand and recalls the time Ford told her and her family “to go home” when they were grilling at her brother’s house because they were being noisy
  • Lewis’ friend Terrance Sibley recalls an instance of Ford allegedly harassing Lewis on the day Sibley was installing security cameras on Lewis’ porch – same cameras that captured suspect setting fire to Lewis’ home
  • Morning of April 18, 2016, fire, no one in the two homes that Ford owned responded to an officer knocking at the doors
  • WATCH: 8/31/21 Death Penalty Arson Trial: Day 2

DAY 1 – 8/30/21

Bob Jones, Courtney Shaw, Drew Scofield & Camryn Justice of WEWS in Cleveland, and Court TV field producer Emanuella Grinberg contributed to this report.

MORE NEWS