Franklin Township sex offender charged with murder

Image courtesy of Portage County Sheriff’s Office.

Akilah Porter

A Portage County man is set to appear in court after police discovered a body in his Storer Suites apartment, 1783 E. Main St., Friday. 

The Portage County Sheriff’s Department arrested Franklin Township’s John Fox, 34, on Saturday, for allegedly killing Justin Earley, 22, of Alliance. 

According to Portage County Sheriff David Doak, Earley was reported missing since Dec. 30. Alliance detectives subpoenaed phone, email and other records that led them to Fox. 

Doak said they were able to link Earley to Franklin Township, where they found his car parked in the Campus Pointe Apartments’ parking lot. The detectives acquired a warrant to search Earley’s car and Fox’s apartment, where, Doak said, Earley’s body was found.

Shortly after police uncovered Earley’s body, Portage County police saw Fox walking down Hayes Road in Ravenna. Doak said Fox complied with the arrest and was taken to Portage County jail with no bail set. 

Fox is being charged with murder and will make a video court appearance Tuesday afternoon to be arraigned. Doak said the use of video is to limit the frequency of transporting criminals.  

Attempts on Monday to contact the Alliance detectives involved in the case and the Portage County coroner were unsuccessful because of the federal holiday.

Doak said he could not comment on the nature of Earley’s death.

This is not Fox’s first offense, who was arrested in 2006 for a third-degree felony for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, according to the Portage County Clerk of Courts. Judge John Enlow of the Portage County Common Pleas Court found Fox guilty and sentenced him to 180 days in jail. 

Fox made an appearance in court a second time for unlawful sexual behavior with a minor, but charges were dropped when there was not  enough evidence to convict him.

Contact Akilah Porter at [email protected].