AKRON, Ohio — The man condemned to death for the sledgehammer slayings of a prominent New Franklin couple apologized to the victims’ family during his sentencing hearing Monday.
But Shawn Ford’s apology fell on the deaf ears of Chelsea Schobert, Ford’s ex-girlfriend and the lone surviving victim of the string of events that ended in the deaths of her parents Jeffrey and Margaret Schobert.
“There’s a lot I’d like to say to you but can’t because it would be inappropriate in court,” Chelsea Schobert said. “You can never be sorry for killing someone in cold blood.”
Ford, 20, was sentenced to death for Margaret Schobert’s April 2013 murder. Summit County Judge Tom Parker added additional sentences of life in prison without parole for Jeffrey Schobert’s murder and an eight-year prison sentence for attacking their daughter, Chelsea Schobert, a week before the killings.
More than 40 friends, family members and co-workers of Jeffrey Schobert spoke during a three-hour sentencing hearing on Monday. Everyone who spoke during the hearing described the elder Schoberts as loving, generous and family-oriented.
Jessica Schobert wanted to be like her father, a caring family member and highly respected attorney. She competed on the debate team in high school that Jeffrey Schobert coached and went to law school to be like her father.
“I realized I wanted nothing more than to work side-by-side within the legal profession with him,” Jessica Schobert said on Monday. “Because of what happened, I was forced to give up the legal profession. I’m not sure when or if I’ll be able to return to school.”
The couple donated significant time and money to anyone they felt they could help, family members said. A school in Africa where they donated money named a dorm in their honor after their deaths.
Attorney Michael Ockerman, who worked at the law firm where Schobert was a partner, spoke of their generosity.
“They gave, gave and gave and didn’t ask for anything in return,” he said. “He was our rock, our leader and a role model for all of us.”
Ford mostly sat at the edge of his seat with his elbows on his knees and head down. He grimaced several times and wiped his eyes with a tissue. He apologized three times to the Schobert family during his four-minute statement before he was sentenced to die.
“I was a young kid in love and was blinded by love,” Ford said. “I never wanted to hurt that girl. I never wanted to hurt the Schobert family. I was being selfish. I was being stubborn. I always felt things had to be my way.”
Ford said he hoped the Schoberts would forgive him.
“These were good people,” he said. “They opened their homes for me. They bought me things. They looked out for me.”
Ford also apologized to his cousin, Jamal Vaughn, for getting him involved. Vaughn, 15, pleaded guilty to being complicit to the murders and faces sentencing on Tuesday.
“I basically ruined his life,” Ford said.