BARBERTON, Ohio — Two Akron brothers accused of killing a Barberton man and his teenage children have entered not guilty pleas to three charges of aggravated murder.
Eric Hendon, 31, and his younger brother Michael Hendon, 22, appeared before Barberton Municipal Court Judge David Fish on Wednesday.
The brothers are accused of going to the Barberton home of John Kohler, 42, on New Year’s Eve with the intent of carrying out a robbery.
Ashley Carpenter, 18, and her brother David Kohler-Carpenter, 14, who were visiting their father, were shot and killed.
John Kohler and his girlfriend Ronda Blankenship, 38, were also shot.
Kohler later died at an Akron hospital.
In court on Wednesday were relatives of the Hendon brothers who said they were there to support their family.
“We don’t know what happened. We feel bad for the other family and our family as well,” said a cousin who asked not to be identified.
“They’re really good people, a good family overall. Like we all said, we don’t know what happened we don’t know the details so we’re basically praying, put it in God’s hands,” said another cousin.
Wednesday was Eric Hendon’s 31st birthday.
He was released from prison last June after spending 13 years behind bars for an attempted murder and sexual battery in Akron.
“Since he got out he had a full time job as soon as he got out. They going to church every week, you know, he has a girlfriend. They supposed to move in together, you know, get married, so I don’t understand how this could happen. He was doing so much better,” a cousin told Fox 8.
An attorney for Michael Hendon told the judge that he had no criminal history, other than some minor misdemeanors.
Judge Fish refused requests from attorneys to decrease a $10 million cash bond for both.
“In light of the gravity of the matter and the significant threat that may be visited on our community, we’re going to leave the bond where it’s at,” ruled Fish.
Relatives of the Hendons said none of them knew the victims or their family.
Also in court was Nina Brown, another cousin of the defendants, who was asked by Fox 8 if either of them are capable of this crime.
“To me, no, ” said Brown, adding, “I would never have thought in a million years.”
The case will next go to a grand jury on Jan. 16.