George C. Brinkman Jr., 45, accused of killing Lake Township couple as well as three women in North Royalton.
A longtime employee and family friend whom a Lake Township couple trusted enough to house-sit while they were on vacation is accused of killing them.
The deaths of Rogell and Roberta John in their Mt. Pleasant Street NW home came less than 24 hours after George C. Brinkman Jr., 45, killed three women in a North Royalton home, according to North Royalton police.
Brinkman was arrested early Tuesday, accused of killing five people:
Rogell E. John II, 71, and Roberta R. John, 64, shot to death in their Lake Township home.
Suzanne Taylor, 45, and her daughters, Taylor Pifer, 21, and Kylie Pifer, 18.
Two murder warrants were issued in Stark County for Brinkman's arrest Tuesday morning. Court records indicate Brinkman used a firearm to kill the Johns.
The Associated Press reported Brinkman already was under arrest after a standoff early Tuesday at a home in Brunswick.
Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon that North Royalton police were holding Brinkman in connection with the women's deaths.
Brunswick Police Lt. Robert Safran said Brinkman was subdued by use of a stun gun. He named no motive.
Cleveland.com reported that North Royalton Detective Dave Loeding said Brinkman was in possession of evidence that linked him to the Lake Township homicides when he was taken into custody. Loeding did not return phone calls from The Canton Repository seeking information.
At his news conference, Stark County Sheriff George T. Maier released the 911 recordings of Rogell John's son, who called to report he had found his father and stepmother dead in their bedroom with blankets covering their bodies.
Maier said North Royalton police, working with the FBI, called his office Sunday to report that Brinkman was a suspect in their triple homicide. They said Brinkman "sometimes stays in this area," Maier said, and asked Stark County deputies to check a couple of addresses. Rogell and Roberta John's address was not among those, Maier said.
Deputies here believe the couple returned home Sunday afternoon from vacation. Neighbors later recalled seeing their vehicle and a black van Brinkman drives at the couple's home.
Police next heard from the couple's son, who called 911 at 4:20 p.m. Monday. He reported that when his father didn't show up for work, he traveled from his Mount Vernon home to check on him.
The son can be heard in the 911 recording saying the things the couple had taken on vacation were "still by the stairs." Their dog, which Maier described as an older, small dog that was ill and had to be carried, was barking and the doorknob on the couple's bedroom door had been broken off. He reported he saw his stepmother's leg sticking out from under a blanket and, when he lifted another blanket on the floor, he saw his father.
Chief Deputy Coroner Anthony Bertin of the Stark County Coroner's Office pronounced the couple dead at 5:44 p.m. Monday.
When Stark deputies learned that Brinkman had been house-sitting for the couple, they notified North Royalton police.
"I believe he came there on a daily basis and checked the house," Maier said.
Stark deputies traveled to North Royalton on Tuesday, hoping to talk to Brinkman.
Maier said Brinkman had once been a boyfriend of Johns' daughter and, while long-estranged, had continued to work for Rogell John at a business.
"They've been associated with one another for a number of years," Maier said. "It does not appear that they just walked in (and were killed). At some point in time, he dated their daughter and that had long ended. He was still familiar with them to the point they trusted him enough to watch their home while they were on vacation."
Brinkman's last known local address was 7933 Norriton Circle NW in Plain Township, but Maier said Brinkman had been staying with someone in Brunswick, where he was arrested.
He remained jailed in Cuyahoga County on Tuesday afternoon while autopsies for the Johns were being conducted.
Stark County court records show warrants were issued for Brinkman's arrest Tuesday morning with an expected bond of $2 million.
Rogell John was known as Gene John and was the former circulation director at The Independent, a sister publication of The Canton Repository and GateHouse Ohio, in Massillon.
Reach Lori at 330-580-8309 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter: @lsteineckREP