AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Bonds have been lessened for three suspects accused in the beating death of 17-year-old Ethan Liming outside the I Promise School in Akron.

Ethan Liming (Photo courtesy: Akron Public Schools)

Last week, court documents revealed the trio, initially charged with murder, was indicted by a Summit County grand jury on lesser charges.

In court on Thursday, the attorney for 20-year-old Deshawn Stafford argued a $1 million bond originally set is no longer “fair.”

“All we are asking for today is fairness,” said the attorney. “What we are asking you to do today is to not set a bond, not based on the old murder charges, but set a bond based on what we now know the grand jury considered involuntary manslaughter.”

The attorney for 21-year-old Donovon Jones echoed that statement and also requested a lesser bond for his client.

All three suspects pleaded not guilty.

Here are the charges and current bonds set by the judge.

  • Deshawn Stafford Jr., 20, is charged with two counts each of involuntary manslaughter and assault. Bond has been lessened from $1 million to $25,000 (10%) with GPS monitoring and an order to not have contact with the victim’s family.
  • Tyler Stafford, 19, is charged with one count each of involuntary manslaughter and assault. Bond has been lessened from $1 million to $5,000 (10%) with GPS monitoring and an order to not have contact with the victim’s family.
  • Donovon Jones, 21, is charged with two counts of assault. Bond was lessened to a $5,000 signature bond. Jones is also ordered to not have contact with the victim’s family.

The suspects have been in Jail since June 11. A pretrial date has been set for August 18.

Police said Liming and his friends were involved in a fight that evening with a group of males who were reportedly playing basketball on the property. Liming’s friends reportedly called 911 after the victim was knocked unconscious and beat up.

Liming’s father, Bill, released the following statement following the change in charges:

“On behalf of our family, we are grieving.  We are a beautifully multi-cultural family with white, African American, and Filipino family members who share the vision of strength by coming together rather than pulling apart everything we hold dear at the seams.  Rather than become bitter, we are choosing to fall back on our faith.  We have always taught all of our children to love everyone.  We will continue that lesson knowing full well that not everyone in the world we live in feels the same.  Our family will continue to let faith guide us through these unbelievable times and we will pay better attention to our surroundings and where we go. 

This summer has been a horrific summer of violence and tragedy here in Akron.  Our family is not the only one who has had to suffer.  We know that every situation is different but we also recognize a common grief that our family shares with so many other families whose loved ones have been taken from them, both young and old.  We stand shoulder to shoulder with all of the families who are struggling in their grief just as we are struggling beside them with ours.  Love will win.  Of that, I am certain- not politics, not division, but love.   And so by love, our family will find a way.  That is who we are.”