State deciding if death penalty will be on the table for McAllen murder suspect

Local News

MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — A date has been set for the State to decide whether or not they will seek the death penalty against a McAllen man accused of killing his ex-wife.

Melissa Banda. (Source: McAllen Police Department )

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.

Later that night, Banda’s body was found in rural Hidalgo County. Following an autopsy, it was determined that Banda died from a laceration on her neck caused by a sharp object.

After reviewing evidence, officials obtained a warrant for Ford’s arrest for capital murder. Which was not the first time he faced murder-related charges.

Ford has remained behind bars since the arrest with a $4.5 million bond. In February 2021, Ford was indicted by a grand jury for capital murder charges.

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

On Wednesday, the pre-trial hearing date was set for November 8, court records show.

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