Father of boy slain in North Olmsted Giant Eagle attack tells judge ‘keep this monster behind bars’ (2024)

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The father of 3-year-old Julian Wood told a judge on Monday that he did not want the woman accused of fatally stabbing the boy outside the North Olmsted Giant Eagle to be free on bond.

“There’s nothing that could ever replace my son, or anything my wife and I and our other kids are going through. It’s horrendous,” Jared Wood said as the woman accused of inflicting the heartache on his family, Bionca Ellis, stood feet away from him with her back turned.

Two men who accompanied Wood rested their hands on his shoulders. He struggled to fight back tears.

“Just do whatever you can to keep this monster behind bars,” Wood told Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Margaret Russo.

Russo then set Ellis’ bond at $5 million before deputies escorted her back to the county jail to await her next court hearing, ending a bizarre hearing that took three attempts and nearly an hour to complete Monday morning.

Ellis initially appeared via video from the county jail for her arraignment, a brief formality that in most cases is finished in under a minute.

She stared at the floor as Russo asked her multiple times whether she had a copy of her indictment that charged her with aggravated murder and other charges in the June 3 attack.

Ellis first answered “I don’t know.” Russo repeated the question several times, but Ellis did not answer. Russo then asked Ellis why she was not answering, and Ellis again remained silent. Russo then moved to other arraignments and called Ellis again a few minutes later.

Ellis said “thank you” as soon as she sat down. She again said she did not know when Russo asked if she had a copy of her indictment. She asked what “video court was” and asked for Russo’s name.

An assistant public defender, whose office represented Ellis in a misdemeanor theft case, told Russo that Ellis had mental health issues and tried to waive Ellis’ right to review the indictment before arraigned.

Russo refused, citing the potential for prosecutors to seek the death penalty.

“I don’t think that’s appropriate,” she said.

Father of boy slain in North Olmsted Giant Eagle attack tells judge ‘keep this monster behind bars’ (1)

Russo then ordered Ellis to appear in the courtroom and for the public defender’s office to review the indictment with her.

When Ellis stepped to the lectern, she whispered her answers to Russo’s questions.

Ellis said she asked assistant Cuyahoga County Public Defender Linda Hricko not to read her indictment. When Russo asked if Hricko did, Ellis whispered no, while Hricko nodded her head yes.

Russo then read all ten counts of the indictment aloud. Ellis appeared to smile. When the judge finished and asked Ellis if she understood the charges, Ellis answered yes -- but in Spanish.

The attack shocked the Cleveland suburb of about 30,000 people. A GoFund Me campaign for the boy’s family had raised more than $240,000 as of Monday.

Video released Thursday showed Ellis walking into the grocery store with a large kitchen knife in her hand that North Olmsted police said she stole from a thrift store next to the grocery store. The video showed that no one tried to stop Ellis as she walked through the front of the store holding the blade .

Police said she had stolen it from a Volunteers of America thrift store nearby earlier.

She passed Margot and Julian Wood by the self-checkout registers. She then immediately turned around and followed them out of the store, according to the store videos.

Once outside, Ellis stabbed them, killing Julian and injuring Margot, police said. She fled the scene. Officers arrested Ellis minutes later near the store.

Ellis was on probation at the time of the attack. She pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor theft charge that accused her of shoplifting $69 worth of food and clothes from the North Olmsted Walmart in March 2023, according to a copy of police report.

She was also in the process of being evicted from an apartment building in Cleveland, according to court records.

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Father of boy slain in North Olmsted Giant Eagle attack tells judge ‘keep this monster behind bars’ (2024)
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