The man convicted of killing nine neighbors in separate arsons has dodged the death penalty. Jurors recommended life behind bars on Friday for Stanley Ford, 62, for murdering a couple, and a family of seven by setting house fires at their homes in Summit County, Ohio, according to local media outlets.
A jury of Ford’s peers found him guilty on Sept. 21 for killing Lindell Lewis, 65, and Gloria Jean Hart, 66, in an April 18, 2016 arson, and for killing Angela Boggs, 38, and Dennis Huggins, 35, and their children Cameron Huggins, 1, Alivia Huggins, 3, Kyle Huggins, 5, Daisia Huggins, 6, and Jared Boggs, 14, in May 15, 2017. According to trial testimony, Ford acted as some sort of self-appointed protector of the neighborhood.
Now that the conviction is out of the way, jurors had to decide whether they thought Ford should face life in prison or the death penalty. It was a tough call, with one of them telling WEWS that deliberation over Ford’s fate sometimes got heated.
“What you have to understand is that there’s a lot of people that have difficultly in life,” said Stanley Carter. “There’s a lot of people raised rough. There’s a lot of people who might have a stroke and brain damage, but that doesn’t make them go set a house on fire.”
Another juror, Antonio Lovelace, said he took into account Ford’s mental health claims.
“I work in mental health on a daily basis, so I can understand how some of those things can affect people, especially in the Black community,” Lovelace said.
Both of the jurors voiced sympathy for the families of Ford’s victims.
“I’m sorry this happened,” Lovelace added. “There’s really nothing, no words can really make them feel better. They lost a lot of family members.”
Carter said that life behind bars for Ford may make the killer wish he was dead.
“We had to make a decision,” he said. “I mean I trust in God more than anything, and I figured sometimes that we can give a person a date when they’re going to die, but God might have some work for them that they wish they were dead.”
Formal sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 26.
[Screenshot via Law&Crime Network]
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