Not-guilty plea in fatal Burson shooting

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat October 21, 2013 12:30 pm

A Burson woman accused of shooting and killing her husband and injuring her granddaughter made her first court appearance on Friday.

Charity Ford, 56, entered the courtroom in handcuffs and wearing an orange Calaveras County Jail jumpsuit. She sounded confused when asked by the judge if she understood the charges against her, which included first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and child endangerment.

“No, I don’t,” she replied, looking up from the District Attorney’s complaint she had been reading. “I don’t understand any of this.”

Calaveras County Superior Court Judge Douglas V. Mewhinney appointed Ford an attorney, Steven Rechter, who entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf. She was then taken back to jail on $3 million bail.

No one attended the hearing Friday except for two newspaper reporters, a handful of attorneys and Calaveras County law enforcement officials. Ford will next appear in court Thursday to schedule a preliminary hearing of the evidence in the case.

The Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office has accused Ford of shooting and killing her husband, Randolph Ford, 52, about 10:15 p.m. Wednesday at the home they shared on the 5700 block of Amos Lane. She is also accused of shooting and injuring her granddaughter, Britney McGhee, 20, and endangering McGhee’s 5-month-old son.

On Friday, McGhee was in stable condition at Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office.

The alleged shooting followed a domestic argument between the couple, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

Autopsy results released Friday showed Randolph Ford died of shock and hemorrhage after suffering five gunshots to the upper torso.

Sheriff’s detectives recovered two small-caliber handguns at the scene.

Sheriff’s detectives are still looking into the reason behind the shooting. They said Charity Ford has cooperated with investigators.