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Published: Thursday, 7/9/2009

Elderly Central City assault victims satisfied with assailant's $1M bond

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Two elderly central Toledo men who told police they were assaulted and robbed by Edgar Howard expressed satisfaction at the bonds totaling $1 million set for the accused murderer at his arraignment yesterday.

"He's a bad fellow. I hope he doesn't get out of jail," Freddie Syph, 99, of the 900 block of Lincoln Avenue, said last night.

"Well, that's good," replied L.T. Maddox, 88, who lives in the 1000 block of Indiana Avenue, when told of Howard's bond.

The two said Howard - a man who has a history of attacks against the elderly - bloodied them and stole money from them during separate instances in May.

The victims both said they were robbed in much the same way. In each case, they said, Howard asked if he could have money for cigarettes. Each man answered yes, and each was robbed after taking out his wallet. In both robberies, the amount stolen was only a few dollars.

Mr. Maddox said Howard followed him into his home when his back was turned, hid around a corner, and ambushed him with a vicious blow across the face.

"My eyes still hurt. I don't know what he hit me with, but it wasn't his fist," he explained.

Bond was set at Howard's arraignment in Toledo Municipal Court yesterday for the murder of Frances Fox, 88, during a break-in at her home in early May.

Edgar Howard, 47, was arraigned yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court for the murder of Frances Fox, 88, during a break-in at her home in early May.  Mrs. Fox died of blunt-force trauma. Edgar Howard, 47, was arraigned yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court for the murder of Frances Fox, 88, during a break-in at her home in early May. Mrs. Fox died of blunt-force trauma.
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Howard, 47, is accused of killing Mrs. Fox and severely beating her husband, Kenneth Fox, in their home at 3373 Mulberry St.

He was arraigned on charges of aggravated murder and felonious assault, with bond set at $500,000 for each charge. He is being held in the Lucas County jail.

Howard showed no emotion during the arraignment and did not react when Judge C. Allen McConnell ordered that the full bond amount would have to be posted before he could be released.

The suspect was taken out of the courtroom as soon as the judge ordered the case to be continued until Thursday.

The brutal, well-publicized crimes at the Fox home generated fear in North Toledo.

Police arriving at the elderly couple's house about 3:30 p.m. May 5 found Mrs. Fox dead and the house ransacked. Lying nearby was her husband, who spent weeks afterward in critical condition at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Mr. Fox, 74, was knocked out during the attack and remained unconscious for days before coming to and calling 911. Officers said Tuesday that he is still unable to communicate.

Mrs. Fox died as a result of blunt-force trauma, the Lucas County Coroner's Office ruled.

When he was charged this week in the Fox case, Howard, of 222 Austin St., was already in the Lucas County jail for allegedly assaulting Mr. Maddox and stealing his wallet on May 26.

A county grand jury indicted him on one count each of robbery, aggravated burglary, and felonious assault.

Mr. Maddox said he suffered a broken nose and broken jaw when Howard struck him in the face with an unknown object, causing him to spend two nights in St. Vincent.

"I was bleeding all over," he said last night. "I crawled out on my porch hollering for help."

Around the same time in May, Mr. Syph said Howard bit him hard on the left hand, tearing skin off his middle finger. "I lost a whole lot of blood," he said.

In 2004, Howard was convicted in Lucas County Common Pleas Court of stealing from an elderly person or disabled adult and sentenced to 30 months in prison.

He also served time for felonious assault, aggravated assault, and robbery, and was released in December, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

Mr. Maddox, who served in the Aleutian Islands during World War II, said he would like to send Howard to one of those desolate North Pacific outposts - "or execute him. He's harmed a lot of people."

Staff writer Mike Sigov contributed to this report.

Contact Carl Ryan at:

carlryan@theblade.com

or 419-724-6081.



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