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Akron man, juvenile arrested for homicides

4/11/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Both charged in New Franklin couple’s deaths; man also charged with assault on couple’s daughter

Shawn Ford, shown above, and a 14-year-old male have been charged in the homicides of Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert.
Photo courtesy of Portage County Jail
NEW FRANKLIN — Two days after Jeffrey Schobert, 56, and his wife Margaret Schobert, 59, were found killed in their Rex Lake Drive home April 2, the New Franklin Police Department, working with the Akron Police Department, the Portage County Sheriff’s Office and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, signed charges on 18-year-old Shawn Ford Jr., of East South Street in Akron, for two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and grand theft.

The announcement was made April 4 at a press conference in New Franklin with New Franklin Police Det. Mike Hitchings, New Franklin Police Det. Nick Bollas and Akron Police Department Information Officer Rick Edwards.

Hitchings said the charges on Ford, identified as the boyfriend of the couple’s 18-year-old daughter, Chelsea Schobert, were filed in Barberton Municipal Court. At the time, Ford was being held at the Portage County Jail on an unrelated charge of obstruction and on a $350,000 bond.

The Schoberts were found dead in their master bedroom April 2 at 2:22 p.m. by a workman in a crew doing remodeling work on the back of their home. The Summit County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on the Schoberts’ bodies and determined the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head for both. A sledgehammer was found on the bed, according to Hitchings.

Hitchings said they had “physical evidence that linked him [Ford] to the crime,” but he would not disclose any other details. He added that Ford “did speak to us about the incident.”

Hitchings said there were no signs of forced entry into the home, and a small amount of money and the Schoberts’ car, a Mazda CX-7, was taken. The car was found in West Akron April 3 and was processed for evidence.

“This was a horrific crime,” said Hitchings of the Schoberts’ murders. “We have no idea what he [Ford] was thinking.”

He refused to divulge any more details about the homicides, stating the investigation is continuing.

On April 5, Hitchings announced a 14-year-old Akron male also was arrested in connection with the murders and charged with two counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated burglary.

Summit County Juvenile Court Administrator Don Ursetti said Juvenile Court Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio entered a “denial” plea on the juvenile’s behalf regarding the charges since an attorney had not yet been appointed for him during his arraignment hearing April 8.

He also said the prosecution entered a motion to relinquish jurisdiction to have the case tried in adult court. Ursetti said a pretrial date for the juvenile has been scheduled for May 2 at 3:30 p.m., and he is being held at the Dan Street Detention Center.

Hitchings said law enforcement officials had been collaborating to determine if there was any correlation between the Schoberts’ murders and a March 23 assault on Chelsea Schobert, a senior at Archbishop Hoban High School. According to an Akron police report, on that date in the 1400 block of Andrus Street in Akron, Chelsea Schobert was stabbed with a knife repeatedly and suffered a skull fracture. Ford was initially identified as a witness in the incident, and Jamayne Ruiz, of Gaylord Drive, was arrested March 26 and charged with felonious assault. However, Akron Municipal Court documents reveal the charges against Ruiz were dropped April 4 and Ford was charged with felonious assault in the attack on Chelsea Schobert.

Barberton Municipal Court documents indicate Ford remains in the Summit County Jail on a $2 million bond and Jon Sinn has been appointed as his attorney. An initial court appearance before Barberton Municipal Court Judge David Fish took place April 10, and the case was bound over to a grand jury in Summit County Common Pleas Court, with an arraignment set for April 28 at 8 a.m.

Jeffrey Schobert worked for Hanna Campbell & Powell LLP in Fairlawn, leading the firm’s health care trial group, according to the firm’s website. He also has been a mock trial coach for students at Hoban, according to Hoban officials. The Schoberts’ eldest daughter, Jessica, 23, also attended Hoban. A prayer service and Mass were held for the Schobert family at the school April 3.

At the April 3 New Franklin Council meeting, Councilman Paul Adamson (Ward 1) said Jeffrey Schobert was known in the courts as “an extraordinary guy and extremely active in civic affairs, as was his wife. This is a real tragic loss for the community.”

According to the Schoberts’ obituary, a memorial service will take place today, April 12, at 1 p.m. at The Chapel in Green, located at 1800 Raber Road. Condolences are being accepted at www.hummel-cares.com. Memorial contributions to Hoban High School’s Jeff and Peg Schobert Memorial Fund and Scholarship are being accepted. Contributions will fund the mock trial team and give one member an opportunity to earn a college scholarship. Donations can be sent to 1 Holy Cross Blvd., Akron, OH 44306.

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