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Focus set on SUV fire Thursday in trial of accused Akron arsonist

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:26 PM EDT
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AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Several investigators involved in the case of an accused arsonist in Akron took the stand Thursday.

Stanley Ford’s second trial resumed this week in Summit County, following an extended recess over the holiday weekend.

Ford, the 62-year-old suspect, is accused of intentionally setting three fires in which nine people died, including five children.

  • The first fire was on April 18, 2016, at 719 Fultz Avenue. Lindell Lewis and Gloria Jean Hart were killed.
  • The second fire was on Jan. 23, 2017, at 723 Russell Avenue. A Dodge Durango was set on fire; nobody was hurt.
  • The third fire was on May 15, 2017, at 693 Fultz Avenue. Seven people were killed, including two adults and five kids.

Much of the focus Thursday was placed on the second fire, involving the SUV.

A former special investigator for the Akron Fire Department, Lt. Robert Wroblewski, took the stand. He was among those who were tasked initially with looking into the vehicle fire on Russell Avenue.

“Car fires, unfortunately, in Akron are a regular occurrence,” Wroblewski told the courtroom.

The former investigator was asked if he knew of any connection between the January 2017 vehicle fire and the two house fires Ford is accused of setting.

“I spoke with the owner of the vehicle. I asked her: ‘Do you have any issues with anybody? Do you have any problems where anybody would want to retaliate in such a fashion?’ She said she had no idea you could have done it,” Wroblewski said on the stand.

The victims of those two Akron house fires that occurred in 2016 and 2017 were identified as:

  • Jared Boggs, 14
  • Daisia Huggins, 6
  • Kyle Huggins, 5
  • Alivia Huggins, 3
  • Cameron Huggins, 16 months old
  • Dennis Huggins, 35
  • Angela Boggs, 38
  • Lindell Lewis, 56
  • Gloria Jean Hart, 61

A mistrial was initially declared for Ford in June 2020 during the first criminal proceedings. Shortly after meeting with jurors, Judge Christine Croce called the mistrial because of the challenges of moving forward with a fair trial while still practicing safe COVID-19 protocols.

19 News spoke to Ford in 2017 when he was living in a home next to one he allegedly set on fire.

Ford, who was arrested in May 2017, faces the death penalty if convicted.

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