TWINSBURG — A Gettysburg Drive man pleaded not guilty to charges at his Nov. 8 arraignment in connection with the murder of a Darrow Road man last month.

According to Summit County Court of Common Pleas records, a grand jury indicted 29-year-old Robert A. Hanford on two counts of murder, a special felony, and one account of second-degree felony assault.

According to the indictment, which was filed Nov. 7, one of the murder counts is due to Mark Bates Jr.'s death being the result of a first- or second-degree felony assault.

Hanford is scheduled for a Nov. 30 pretrial hearing before Judge Tammy O'Brien. He was being held in Summit County Jail on a 10 percent of $100,000 bond as of Nov. 13. His bond had been $1 million, but was modified Nov. 8, according to court records.

Hanford's attorney, Wesley Buchanan, filed a motion for a bill of particulars Nov. 9 arguing that the indictment against Hanford is “vague” and demanding that the prosecution provide more information concerning the crime Hanford is alleged to have committed to protect Hanford's constitutional right to due process.

Buchanan did not return a phone call seeking comment before press time.

Police responded to Bates' home in the morning Oct. 1 after Hanford, who was staying there, called 911 to report the 26-year-old Bates had been stabbed. Police said Hanford told them he had been sleeping on the couch and did not remember what happened the night before.

According to a Summit County Medical Examiner’s report, Bates died from multiple stab wounds to his chest and his death was ruled a homicide.

Twinsburg police happened to encounter Hanford and Bates less than 48 hours before Hanford made the 911 call.

According to a police report, police stopped Hanford's vehicle, with Bates as a passenger, for a headlight violation on Glenwood Drive near Heron Cove at about 12:40 a.m. Sept. 30. Hanford was charged with driving under suspension and cited with marijuana possession; Bates was not charged or cited with anything.

Hanford's vehicle was towed and impounded and police took both men to Bates' home, according to the report.

jsaunders@recordpub.com

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