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Bail set at $5M for Cleveland woman accused of fatally stabbing 3-year-old outside supermarket

Bionca Ellis, 32, center right, appears in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio, in the stabbing death of 3-year-old Julian Wood in a grocery store parking lot in June.
Cory Shaffer
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Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer
Bionca Ellis, 32, center right, appears in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court, Monday, June 10, 2024, in Cleveland, Ohio, in the stabbing death of 3-year-old Julian Wood in a grocery store parking lot in June.

Bail was set at $5 million Monday for a woman who authorities say fatally stabbed a 3-year-old boy last week as he sat in a grocery cart outside an Ohio supermarket and wounded his mother.

The ruling by Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Nancy Margaret Russo concluded an arraignment hearing for Bionca Ellis, 32, of Cleveland, that took three attempts and nearly an hour to complete, Cleveland.com reported.

Authorities have said Ellis was inside the Giant Eagle grocery store on June 3 in the Cleveland suburb of North Olmsted when she saw Julian Wood and his mother, Margot Wood, near the front and followed them into the parking lot,

The mother was about to load her groceries into her vehicle when Ellis ran at them with a knife, stabbing the boy twice, in an attack that took less than five seconds before Ellis walked away. The boy died at a hospital while Margot Wood was treated at a hospital for a stab wound to her shoulder — a wound prosecutors have said she suffered after trying to pull the boy out of the cart during the attack.

Authorities have not given a motivation for the attack, which they believe was a random incident. Ellis is being represented by the public defender's office, which generally does not comment on cases.

On Monday, Ellis initially appeared via video from the county jail, but stared at the floor as Russo asked if she had a copy of the indictment that charged her with aggravated murder and other related counts. Ellis first told the judge “I don’t know,” then stopped answering despite multiple requests by the judge. Russo then asked Ellis why she wasn't answering, and Ellis again remained silent.

The judge then moved on to other arraignments but called Ellis again a few minutes later and again asked her if she had the indictment. Ellis again said she didn't know and an assistant public defender, whose office had represented Ellis in an unrelated matter, told Russo that Ellis had mental health issues and tried to waive Ellis’ right to review the indictment before being arraigned.

Russo refused, saying it wasn't appropriate because prosecutors could seek the death penalty. She then ordered Ellis to appear in the courtroom and for the public defender’s office to review the indictment with her.

In the courtroom, 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 but Hricko nodded her head yes. The judge then read all ten counts of the indictment aloud, and Ellis appeared to smile.

Speaking at Monday's hearing as Ellis stood just a few feet away from him with her back turned, Julian's father told the judge he didn't want Ellis 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, struggling to keep his composure. “Just do whatever you can to keep this monster behind bars."

The Associated Press
[Copyright 2024 NPR]