Sledgehammer Slaying Suspect Will Use Insanity Defense

AKRON, Ohio (AP) – An 18-year-old man charged with killing a prominent Ohio attorney and his wife in their home with a sledgehammer will plead not guilty by reason of insanity, his attorney said in court on Wednesday.

Shawn Ford Jr. of Akron appeared by video from jail but did not speak at a hearing in the Summit County Court of Common Pleas.

Ford is charged with aggravated murder in the killing of 56-year-old Jeffrey Schobert and his wife, 59-year-old Margaret.

The couple were found dead in their home in New Franklin on April 2; they had been beaten to death with a sledgehammer.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Ford’s attorney, Don Hicks, said at Wednesday’s hearing that Ford was declining to enter a plea in the case, but that at some point, would plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

Magistrate Kandi O’Connor entered a plea of not guilty on Ford’s behalf as a formality in such a proceeding.

Ford remains jailed on a $1 million bond. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Ford also is charged with felonious assault in a nonfatal attack on the couple’s teenage daughter, who was stabbed at a party on March 23 and suffered a skull fracture. Police have said Ford dated the girl, and the parents may have objected.

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