Murder suspect’s preliminary hearing set for Friday

Carrie Blazina

John Fox, a Franklin Township man suspected of murdering missing Alliance man Justin Earley, made a video court appearance Tuesday afternoon for his arraignment at the Ravenna courthouse.

Judge Kevin Poland said Fox was charged with murder — an unclassified felony — which he said carries a charge of 15 years to life in prison.

“This defendant has an extensive felony record in the state of Ohio,” a prosecutor said as he asked for a $1 million bond of cash or surety, which Poland granted.

Earley, 22, was found dead in Fox’s Storer Suites apartment Friday, and Fox, 34, was arrested Saturday. Portage County Sheriff David Doak previously told the Daily Kent Stater that Earley was reported missing Dec. 30, and Alliance detectives subpoenaed phone, email and other records that led them to Fox.

Doak said Tuesday there were no updates in the case or information to release.


Portage County Prosecutor Victor Vigluicci speaks at the arraignment for John Fox who appears on screen (right) at the Portage County Municipal Court Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014. Fox has been detained for possible involvement in the murder of Justin Tyler Earley, a 22-year-old Alliance man who was found dead in Fox’s closet. Fox was assigned for a preliminary hearing Friday morning, Jan. 25, 2014. Photo by Jacob Byk.

“We have to be very careful when we charge someone in a murder case not to make statements that could perhaps have anything to do with the integrity of the investigation or the case itself until such time as we get to trial,” Doak said.

Portage County coroner’s assistant Wayne Enders said all press releases for the case are being handled through the sheriff’s office, and he did not have any information about Earley’s cause or manner of death.

“Yes, an autopsy has been conducted, and those findings have not been released to me yet,” Enders said.

Check back with for more details as the case unfolds.

Contact Carrie Blazina at [email protected].