EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — On Monday the State of Texas announced they will not seek the death penalty against Richard Ford.

Ford was present with his attorneys via Zoom on Monday morning and a pre-trial is set for Jan. 19, 2022.

Ford is accused of killing his ex-wife Melissa Banda in August 2020. He has remained behind bars since his arrest.

On Thursday, August 6, 2020, police responded to a call regarding a home disturbance. Upon arrival, authorities were notified that Richard Ford, 40, had forced his ex-wife, Melissa Banda, into his vehicle.

On Friday, August 7, Banda was reported missing and authorities identified Ford as a suspect.

That same day, Ford was arrested near Beach Access 5 on South Padre Island for two active warrants for violating a court order to not make contact with Banda and harassment.

In March, Ford pleaded not guilty to all counts, and the court ordered a no-contact order between Ford and Melissa Banda’s family members, according to official documents.

Ford is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 1, 2022.