Jury: Death penalty for couple's hammer killings

AP News
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Posted: Oct 31, 2014 6:18 PM

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — A man who was convicted of beating his girlfriend's parents to death with a sledgehammer should be executed, a jury said Friday.

After hearing arguments from prosecutors and defense lawyers, the Summit County jury that convicted Shawn Ford Jr. of aggravated murder last week recommended he be given the death sentence for killing 59-year-old Margaret Schobert. The jury split its decision, recommending that Ford be given life in prison without parole for the slaying of 56-year-old Jeffrey Schobert.

Judge Tom Parker will have the final decision when he sentences the 20-year-old Ford later.

Ford, of Akron, put his head down and showed no emotion when the decision was announced. Attorneys and families declined to comment afterward, citing a gag order.

Prosecutors said Ford and a 14-year-old boy killed the Schoberts in their home near Akron in April 2013 because they kept Ford from seeing their daughter after he severely beat her. They said the Schoberts' killings came 10 days after Ford stabbed and critically injured their daughter for refusing him sex.

They said Ford and the teenage boy fatally beat Jeffrey Schobert in his bed with a sledgehammer, then lured Margaret Schobert home to her death by sending her text messages from her dead husband's cellphone.

Ford's attorneys argued that he can't legally face the death penalty because of his low IQ. The judge is expected to conduct a hearing on that issue before the sentencing.

The teenage boy charged in the case is awaiting trial.