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First day of Richard Ford's murder trial begins

1 month 2 weeks 4 days ago Tuesday, February 27 2024 Feb 27, 2024 February 27, 2024 2:30 PM February 27, 2024 in News - Local

A dozen people took to the stand Tuesday during the first day of Richard Ford’s murder trial.

Ford is facing a capital murder charge in connection with the kidnapping and death of his ex-wife — Melissa Banda.

Ford has been in jail since he was arrested in Aug. 2020 following her death. 

Prosecutors told the jury this is a case about a woman who had enough, who stood up for herself — and a man who could not tolerate that.

In their opening statements, Ford's attorneys asked jurors to use their reason, and “not emotion or sympathy” to make their decision. 

The first witness was the doctor who performed Banda’s autopsy. She told the jury Banda's throat was cut, and jurors and the courtroom saw pictures of that injury — and others on her body. 

The images caused Banda's family to cry in the courtroom. 

Banda’s sister — Cynthia — also took the stand.

Cynthia told jurors that Ford tried to suffocate Banda months before the murder. 

Ford's mother — Maricela Garcia — also testified, and she told the jury how she and Banda had lunch at Garcia's business the day she was kidnapped. 

Prosecutors showed surveillance video from that businesses, and said it shows the moment Ford started to follow Melissa to her sister's home, where she lived at the time.  

The jury saw surveillance footage from that home.

Prosecutors say Banda drives into the garage, and is followed by Ford within seconds. 

Banda is seen being carried out of the garage and put in a car, her shoes falling off as she tries to fight back. 

Melissa's babysitter was at home at the time, and she told jurors she heard screams and called 9-1-1 when Banda was taken.

Prosecutors plan to call more of their witnesses when the trial resumes on Wednesday. 

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