AKRON, Ohio -- An arraignment hearing was Wednesday morning for Stanley Ford, the man accused of two fatal fires in Akron, killing nine people.
Ford, 58, appeared via video at the Summit County Courthouse. Last week, Ford was indicted on multiple charges, including 22 counts of aggravated murder with death penalty specifications.
He pleaded not guilty and prosecutors requested a $7 million bond.
Ford is accused of starting three fires within a block of his home. One fire, in January, was a car fire and no one was injured. He’s also accused of starting two house fires just four doors apart on Fultz Street.
Police said, in April 2016, he started a house fire that killed a couple, Lindell Lewis, 66, and Gloria Hart, 65. One man was able to escape that fire.
Then, just over a year later, police said Ford started another house fire down the road, killing a family of seven. The victims are Dennis Huggins, 35; Angela Boggs, 38; Jered Boggs, 14; Daisia Huggins, 6; Kyle Huggins, 5; Alivia Huggins, 3; and Cameron Huggins, 1.
Prosecutors are calling this the worst crime in the history of Akron.
“Never before in Summit County history has one man been charged with the murders of nine people,” Assistant Prosecutor Margaret Scott said. “We will fight for justice for the victims and their families.”
There are more than a dozen members of the Huggins family gathered at the Summit County Courthouse for Ford's arraignment.
Tony Huggins, Dennis Huggins’ oldest brother, told FOX 8 the last few months have been extremely difficult for the family. He said they want justice for all the victims.
He expressed the family’s gratitude to city and county officials for their help with the case.
"It's very tough," Huggins said. "We just ask the community continue to pray for us. That's all we can do now is pray."
Last week, Akron Police Chief James Nice recalled how hard this case has been.
“I was at both of these house fires and I know how tragic it was when they were moving the bodies from the scene,” Nice said. “This is horrific.”
Officials have not yet given a motive for the fires. They say it is an ongoing investigation.
List of Ford’s charges:
· 22 Counts of Aggravated Murder with death penalty specifications – special felonies
· 2 Counts of Attempted Aggravated Murder – felonies of the 1st degree
· 2 Counts of Aggravated Arson – felonies of the 2nd degree
· One Count of Cruelty to Animals – a felony of the 5th degree
· One Count of Arson – a misdemeanor of the 1st degree
· One Count of Aggravated Menacing – a misdemeanor of the 1st degree