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Opening arguments made in Akron arson suspect's murder trial

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Opening arguments have been made in the latest trial of a man accused of killing nine people in separate arson fires in his Akron neighborhood.

Stanley Ford, 62, could be sentenced to death if convicted on multiple aggravated murder charges. He is accused of killing a couple in 2016 and two adults and five children in 2017 .

Summit County prosecutors told jurors Monday that they will use surveillance video footage, security alarm records and the testimony of neighbors to show Ford was responsible. They have said he set the fires because of disputes with his neighbors, but defense attorney Scott Rilley said Ford cannot be identified in the surveillance videos and added that other potential suspects were identified.

Jurors on Monday also visited the neighborhood where the fires occurred. Testimony in the case is due to start Tuesday.

Ford’s initial trial began in March 2020. After a week of testimony and several delays, Summit County Judge Christine Croce declared a mistrial the following June at the request of Ford’s attorneys, who cited concerns about Ford’s ability to get a fair trial during the coronavirus pandemic.