A Winston-Salem man charged with killing a man in a hotel room in 2017 will remain in the Forsyth County Jail pending trial, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Jabarius Jaon Ford, 33, of Gray Avenue, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon. Prosecutors claim that on May 30, 2017, Ford fatally shot Apaulenal Eric Areyano.
Winston-Salem police found Areyano at the Sleep Inn, 1985 Hampton Inn Court. Police said Areyano was on the floor inside the hotel room with multiple gunshot wounds. He was declared dead at the scene.
Ford was arrested June 13, 2017, and has been in the Forsyth County Jail since, his attorney, Teresa Church, said in court. She asked that Judge Todd Burke of Forsyth Superior Court set bond in the range of $200,000 to $250,000.
Burke denied the request after a brief hearing.
Church argued at the hearing that Ford does not have a prior violent criminal history and that he has cooperated with Winston-Salem police in the investigation, including providing a DNA sample.
She also said that since he has been incarcerated, he has gotten married and has a child. In the four years he has been in jail, he has not been able to make income to support his family, Church said.
His wife has tried to sustain the household but it has become more of a struggle, Church said.
Ford has a history of appearing at court hearings and has strong ties to the community, Church argued. While she said she did not want to get into the alleged facts in the case, she did say that Ford would argue self-defense if the case goes to trial.
Assistant District Attorney Elisabeth Dresel said she has offered a plea arrangement in which Ford would be given a chance to plead guilty to second-degree murder, and added that her understanding was that Ford was going to reject the plea.
Dresel said that a trial date had been set before the COVID-19 pandemic. But once the pandemic set in, court operations were limited and Forsyth County has not had a jury trial since March 2020.
Dresel told Burke that she is trying to set a trial date for the fall. She argued that Burke should not set a bond so as to ensure that Ford shows up to court hearings and that a trial is but months away.
Church said that it’s not clear whether a trial can be had by the end of the year, particularly for a first-degree murder case.