Burson slaying probed

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat /

Authorities this morning continued to investigate a Wednesday night shooting that left a man dead and a woman critically injured at a ranch near Valley Springs.

Charity Ford, 56, of Burson, was arrested and booked on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and child cruelty. She is accused of shooting her husband and granddaughter about 10:15 p.m., according to Calaveras County Sheriff's Department.

She remained in the Calaveras County Jail this morning, held on $1.25 million bail.

The incident happened on the 5700 block of Amos Lane.

Sheriff's investigators responding to the scene found the man, identified by neighbors as Randy Ford, 52, dead next to a driveway in front of the house.

The injured granddaughter, identified by authorities as Britney McGhee, 20, was found inside the house. She had called 911.

She was taken to Doctor's Medical Center in Modesto. Her condition was unavailable this morning.

McGhee's son, 5 months old, was unharmed, the Sheriff's Office said.

At least one handgun was found at the scene.

Neighbor Shanna Douglas said the Fords lived at the seven-acre Amos Lane ranch for about six years, moving from the Bay Area. McGhee lived there intermittently.

Douglas, who has lived on the gravel road her entire life, said she used to chat with Charity Ford at their children's school bus stop.

Randy Ford continued to commute to work in the Bay Area, she said.

She thought he worked in law enforcement but was unsure.

Ford also worked as a horse trainer.

An expired Website for his business, Randy Ford Horsemanship, indicates he occasionally held clinics at the Amos Lane ranch.

The ranch has seven or eight horses, Douglas said.

She said she used to see Charity Ford out with the horses when the Fords first moved in.

Charity Ford was diagnosed with lupus three or four years ago and wasn't seen much after that, Douglas said.

Douglas added that the Fords were not well known in town.

"They were nice people," Douglas said, later adding of Charity Ford, "I don't think she was as happy in the country."

The Sheriff's Department is still investigating the motive of the alleged crimes and had not been able to reach Randy Ford's family as of this morning.

The Union Democrat
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