Records detail Burson murder

Austen Thibault, The Union Democrat

A Burson woman accused of murdering her husband in October said she "shot him till the bullets stopped" because she believed he was cheating on her, court records state.

According to documents presented in Calaveras County Superior Court, Charity Ford, 56, admitted to shooting her husband, Randy Ford, 52, and continuing to fire at him as she chased him outside their home.

The records cite Charity Ford's statements to law enforcement officials following the killing on the night of Oct. 16.

Charity Ford's granddaughter, Britney McGhee, 20, also was shot once in the thigh that night.

The "Statement of Probable Cause" required for a search warrant states that Charity Ford told Calaveras County Sheriff's deputies she had been taking antidepressants, but quit them a month ago, and had consumed some alcohol that night.

Seven prescription drug bottles were discovered on the property, according to search warrant documents. Each of the three residents were named on at least one bottle, with some unspecified. The type of drugs were not named.

McGhee, who called 911 that night, said she heard a gunshot, went into the hall and saw her grandmother holding a 9mm pistol, according to the documents. Her grandmother then shot her in the thigh, McGhee said.

McGhee fled to her room and heard more gunshots, records state.

Pools and drops of blood and bullet casings showed that Randy Ford was shot inside, then chased outside and shot again, according to sheriff's investigators.

He was found dead about 140 feet from the house, next to the driveway about 10:25 p.m., 10 minutes after the 911 call. An autopsy showed he died of shock and hemorrhage from five gunshot wounds.

Charity Ford told investigators "My husband is cheating on me" and that the two had an argument that night, according to the documents.

When he tried to flee out the front door, she said, "No, you're just not going to get away from this" and then "shot him till the bullets stopped," the documents quote her as saying.

Two bloody handguns were recovered in a bag near the front door.

A large pool of blood was also found in one of the bedrooms. McGhee said Randy Ford had entered her bedroom after she had been shot, that Charity Ford tried to get in and Randy Ford ultimately left the room.

McGhee had a 5-month-old son in the house, who was found uninjured and taken into child protective custody.

McGhee was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto in serious condition for her gunshot wound and underwent surgery. She has since stabilized and has been released. Doctors also told investigators that McGhee was pregnant.

Neighbor Shanna Douglas told The Union Democrat that the Fords lived at the seven-acre Amos Lane ranch for about six years, moving from the Bay Area. McGhee lived there intermittently, and a man about her age used to visit and sometimes stay overnight, Douglas said.

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

Charity Ford said she was on medication for high blood pressure and fibromyalgia, according to the documents. That night she had drunk about 6 ounces of brandy, she said in the document. Two bottles of brandy were found in the house.

Charity Ford is charged with murder, attempted murder and child cruelty. She has pleaded not guilty and been appointed a public defender. Her bail was set at $3 million.

The court proceedings weredelayed by Judge Douglas V. Mewhinney on Thursday, allowing Charity Ford one more week to secure funds for a private lawyer to replace her public defender.

The afternoon hearing was a preliminary trial setting - to set a date for the first introduction of evidence - and had previously been delayed for one week for the same reason.

Mewhinney, however, said that a preliminary hearing would be scheduled in a week whether she secures a private attorney or not.

Her preliminary trial setting is now set for 2 p.m. Thursday in Mewhinney's courtroom.

Only reporters and attorneys have attended the court proceedings thus far.

Family members reached did not want to comment.

The Union Democrat
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