State rests in trial of McAllen man accused of kidnapping, killing ex-wife

Richard Ford sits alone at the start of his trial at the 206th state district court Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2024, in Edinburg. (Delcia Lopez | [email protected])
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EDINBURG — Prosecutors rested their cases just before noon Tuesday in the trial of a 44-year-old McAllen man accused of kidnapping and murdering his ex-wife.

The development comes on the fifth day of testimony in Richard Ford’s trial.

He is charged with capital murder, assault of a family member, violating a protective order and stalking over the Aug. 6, 2020 killing of Melissa Banda.

Defense attorneys also rested Tuesday afternoon.

Ford will not testify.

On Tuesday morning, the state’s last witness was Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office lead investigator Ermalinda Chavez, who gave an overview of her work on the case.

Two other investigators also took the stand Tuesday morning.

The trial has been marked by graphic testimony over Banda’s death as multiple police witnesses described from the point of Banda’s kidnapping, to where her body was found and to where Ford was eventually arrested on South Padre Island.

Jurors have heard that Ford rented a vehicle from the McAllen International Airport that was instrumental in tracking Ford and finding Banda’s body because the vehicle was equipped with GPS.

Testimony was also presented that showed Ford bought a hunting knife, duct tape, cables, BBs, CO2 cartridges and an Airsoft gun in the days leading up to the murder.

Jurors are scheduled to return Wednesday morning for closing arguments followed by deliberations.

Here’s the latest update:

McAllen man guilty of ex-wife’s kidnapping, murder