- Associated Press - Friday, October 10, 2014

AKRON, Ohio (AP) - A 20-year-old man critically injured the girl he was dating last year, then broke into her parents’ northeast Ohio home and beat them to death with a sledgehammer, prosecutors said on the first day of the man’s murder trial.

If convicted of aggravated murder in the trial that opened Thursday, Shawn Eric Ford. Jr. could face the death penalty. He has pleaded not guilty.

Ford faces charges in the April 2013 slaying of 56-year-old Jeffrey Schobert and his wife, 59-year-old Margaret “Peg” Schobert, at their home in New Franklin, near Akron. Jeffrey Schobert was a prominent local attorney.

The Schoberts’ daughter, Chelsea, testified Thursday that Ford beat and stabbed her nearly to death when she rebuffed him for sex.

Prosecutors say that while Chelsea Schobert was hospitalized, Ford and a juvenile broke in and killed her parents. Ford was angry that the Schoberts were trying to keep him from their daughter.

Ford and the juvenile took a sledgehammer from the family garage and attacked Jeffrey Schobert in his bed the morning of April 1, according to prosecutors. They then did the same to Peg Schobert when she arrived after spending the night at her daughter’s bedside. Both were struck with the sledgehammer more than a dozen times each, prosecutors said.

Chelsea Schobert testified that after her parents’ death, her life spiraled out of control. She said she used inheritance money to buy cocaine to sell with her new boyfriend. She was eventually convicted of the crime and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

The juvenile charged in the Schoberts’ slayings will be tried later as an adult on charges including aggravated murder.

Ford’s trial continues Friday.

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