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Wayne Adam FORD

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Rape - Necrophilia - Mutilation
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1997 - 1998
Date of arrest: November 4, 1998 (surrenders)
Date of birth: December 3, 1961
Victims profile: Patricia Tamez, 29 / Lanett Deyon White, 25 / Tina Renee Gibbs, 26 / An unidentified woman whose torso was found in a slough
Method of murder: Stabbing with knife - Strangulation
Location: San Bernardino County, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on August 1, 2006
 
 

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Wayne Adam Ford (born December 3, 1961) is an American serial killer.

He was arrested after he walked into the Humboldt County Sherrif Department in Eureka, California in November 1998 with a woman's severed breast in his pocket. He confessed to having killed four women, and is thought to have killed others.

He was found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder on June 27, 2006, and was sentenced to death on August 11.

Further reading

Smith, Carlton (2001). Shadows of Evil. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-97887-1.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Wayne Adam Ford (4)

On 4 November 1998, Wayne Adam Ford made headlines when he walked into the Sheriff's station in Northern California, pulled from his pocket a Ziploc bag with a severed breast inside it and admitted to killing four women.

Ford, 36, of Arcata, was being held on murder charges in the Humboldt County Jail on $1 million bail. Sheriff Dennis Lewis said Ford walked into his department, said he had some evidence, and pulled out the baggied bag breast. According to the Sheriff the emerging serial killer, "was remorseful and apparently had reached a point in his life where he wanted to talk about what he'd been involved in."

Investigators in Eureka said the four victims he mentioned were female hitchhikers and/or prostitutes who had been sexually assaulted before they were slain and mutilated post mortem. One of the slayings dated back to 1997, when the torso of a woman 18 to 25 was found floating in a channel near Eureka.

Investigators found six or seven body parts of the unidentified woman based on information Ford provided, said Sheriff Lewis. The breast he brought to the Sheriff's station was from another victim. Authorities said Ford implicated himself in two other recent slayings, in San Bernadino and San Joaquin counties.

The first body found, discovered in October 1997, had been so thoroughly dismembered that her identity remains unknown. Believed to have been a hitchhiker whom Ford picked up, her mutilated torso was found in a marsh near Eureka. One of her arms was later found on a beach. Her head, other arm and parts of her legs are still missing. Ford stored other body parts in the freezer of his Arcata trailer for a year, and according to laboratory analysis, apparently tried to cook some of them.

On June 2, 1998, the nude body of a Las Vegas prostitute, Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, was found in a Kern County aqueduct. She had been strangled. Four months later, the nude body of Lanett Deyon White, a 25-year-old prostitute from Fontana, was found floating in a San Joaquin County irrigation canal. The precise cause of death remains undetermined.

Patricia Ann Tamez's nude body was found floating in the California Aqueduct in San Bernardino County in October 1998. She had been strangled and one of her breasts removed--the one Ford carried in his coat pocket more than a week later when he and his brother walked into a sheriff's station in Humboldt County.

After confessing to killing the four women, Wayne told authorities he turned himself in so he wouldn't kill his ex-wife and leave his son an orphan "`He said he was ashamed of what he was doing and his anger was mostly directed against his wife and he was getting more angry at her every day"' for keeping him from seeing their son, Humboldt County Coroner Frank Jager Jr. said.

People who knew Ford have said he regularly complained that since his separation and divorce from his wife, he has been frustrated in his efforts to see their son. Their divorce decree gave him limited visitation.

In a 3 1/2-hour interview with investigators just before his arraignment, Ford disclosed the location of the head of a woman's headless torso that was found el 26 de Octubre de 1997, in a channel outside Eureka. Pathologists hope to use knife and saw marks on bones from five body parts Ford led them to at a campsite outside Trinidad to match them with the still-unidentified torso. Ford had kept the body parts in a freezer in his Airstream trailer in Arcata for the past year but hid them in a hole at the base of a tree just days before turning himself in.

Wayne's arrest has led officials to identifying el cuerpo de Patricia Anne Tamez, a 29-year-old Victorville woman discovered dead two weeks ago in the California Aqueduct near Interstate 15 outside Hesperia. San Bernardino County officials said the body was missing a breast.

Ms. Tamez may have been working as a prostitute at truck stops, officials said. A friend, Deborah Reck, said Ms. Tamez was an upper middle class college student who dropped out because she liked to party too much and was "really into crystal meth."

Authorities identified another of his victims como Tina Renee Gibbs, a prostitute Las Vegas, 26, whose body was dumped in an aqueduct in Kern County. Ford admitted killing Gibbs, saying that she died during rough sex that included bondage. Two other victims remain unidentified.

Born in Petaluma, Ford told friends he served in the military and bounced around the West, living in Big Bear and San Clemente before moving with his wife and son to Las Vegas. After breaking up with his wife he moved to the Northern California coast, where he started working as a long-haul trucker.

Mayhem.net

 
 

Wayne Adam Ford

February 12, 1999

San Bernardino County will seek the death penalty for Arcata trucker Wayne Adam Ford, who has confessed to killing women in four California counties. Deputy District Attorney David Whitney filed two death-penalty murder counts against Ford. Whitney said it's also possible all four murder cases including those in Humboldt and Kern counties may be tried in San Bernardino County. Under a new state law, the cases of serial killers can be consolidated for trial in one county. Kern County District Attorney John Somers confirmed it has been decided that if the Ford case qualifies for a single-jurisdiction prosecution, it would be in San Bernardino County. In Humboldt County, where Ford allegedly committed the first of the four killings, a gag order has been imposed on attorneys.

 
 

Wayne Adam Ford

March 12, 1999

Confessed serial killer Wayne Adam Ford has been scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 21 to determine whether there is enough evidence to warrant a trial. Ford, 37, confessed to killing four women in four different counties while working as a trucker. Authorities have discussed trying all four cases in one county under a new state law that allows consolidating the trials of serial killers. Deputy District Attorney David Whitney, who is handling the Ford case in San Bernardino County, said he will be filing death penalty charges on the San Bernardino and San Joaquin cases and may also be handling the Humboldt and Kern matters.

 
 

Trucker suspected of killing 4 women

Alleged serial killer mutilated victims

By Mike Cruz - DailyBulletin.com

March 12, 2006

More than seven years have passed since Wayne Adam Ford walked into a sheriff's station in Northern California with a woman's severed breast in his pocket and a confession in his heart.

A truck driver from Arcata, Ford called authorities and asked if he could surrender because he had "hurt a lot of people.''

Humboldt County sheriff's deputies said they soon learned what a horrible understatement that was. By the end of their interview with Ford, he had confessed to killing four women -- including one from Fontana and another from Hesperia -- whose bodies were found in 1997 and 1998.

Prosecutors today are expected to begin laying out the evidence against Ford before San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith. Ford faces the death penalty if he is convicted of four counts of first-degree murder and a special circumstance of multiple murders.

Similarities between the slayings compound and confound. Authorities said Ford told them the four women died during sex, and all were lost despite his efforts to revive them. The victims all were discarded nude into nearby waterways.

Two of the victims had been dismembered -- including Patricia Anne Tamez, of Hesperia, whose breast he cut off before dumping her body in the California Aqueduct, police said. Ford put the breast in a Ziploc plastic bag and tucked it in his pocket when he turned himself in to Humboldt County authorities.

Prosecutors fought, and succeeded, in having the cases consolidated into one in San Bernardino County under a new law that allows connected crimes to be prosecuted in a single trial.

Authored by state Sen. Richard Rainey, R-Walnut Creek, the law, sometimes called the serial-killer law, went into effect two months after Ford turned himself in.

After years of investigation, hearings and delays, a jury will begin hearing testimony today from 60 to 80 witnesses, detectives and experts about the four women who died and their connections to Ford.

"It's good to finally be in trial,'' said Deputy District Attorney David Mazurek. "It seems like you can see an end coming.''

That end is still several months away, however.

It took two months to compile a jury of 12 plus six alternates from a panel of 900 prospective jurors. The guilt phase of the trial is expected to last about four months.

If the jury convicts Ford, that same panel will spend another two to three weeks hearing evidence in a penalty phase and deciding whether to recommend capital punishment.

"It's been a major undertaking, I think for both sides, actually,'' said Deputy Public Defender Joseph Canty, who is representing Ford.

Bizarre circumstances

At the time of Ford's arrest, his unusual surrender catapulted the case into the national spotlight, became the subject of television shows and news broadcasts, and was even detailed in a paperback book by Carlton Smith.

The news media in Eureka, the seat in a 3,000-square-mile rural county, have begun publicizing the trial, but the circumstances surrounding the case remain in the minds of local law enforcement.

Like any community, homicides are not unusual in Humboldt County, said Brenda Godsey, a Sheriff's Department spokeswoman.

"What was so horrific about this case, perhaps, was the number of victims to find,'' Godsey said. To have an alleged serial killer that may have killed four women, she said, "that was certainly remarkable here in Humboldt County.''

To this day, she said, when people talk about so-called big cases in the area, they still return to Ford, whose family continues to live in his native Northern California.

The people vs. Ford

Though he confessed to police, Ford eventually pleaded not guilty to charges against him on procedural grounds. He has blamed his behavior on a brain injury received in a 1984 traffic collision in Irvine. Prosecutors have expressed skepticism.

Ford said he suffered the injury during his years in the Marines when he stopped to help another motorist. He told media outlets he was in a coma for nine days.

Both Mazurek and Canty said they couldn't discuss the specifics of the case. Details have been released through investigative reports and court hearing transcripts.

The deaths attributed to Ford include:

• An unidentified woman whose torso was found in a slough near Eureka in October 1997 -- more than a year before Ford surrendered. The head, arms, legs and breasts had been cut off, and the torso had been stabbed 27 times and cut down the middle, according to authorities.

Ford told authorities he picked up the woman in Eureka and that she later died during sex in his trailer in Arcata.

• The nude body of Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, was found in an aqueduct near the town of Buttonwillow in Kern County in June 1998. A known prostitute in Las Vegas, Gibbs died from strangulation but was not dismembered.

Ford had sex with Gibbs at a Las Vegas motel and later in his truck at a truck stop, he told investigators.

• Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana, was found nude and floating in an irrigation canal near Lodi in San Joaquin County in September 1998. The cause of death was "homicidal violence of unknown etiology.''

In interviews with detectives, Ford said he picked up White at an Ontario truck stop and that her death occurred in San Bernardino County, before he drove to Phoenix with her body tied up in his truck. He later drove to Lodi, where he dropped the body in a canal.

• Tamez's body was found in the California Aqueduct, near Hesperia, in October 1998. White picked up Tamez, 29, by a convenience store near Victorville, he told authorities.

Tamez's neck had been broken below her shoulders, and her cause of death was ruled strangulation, with a thoracic spine fracture and possible drowning.

The cost of it all

When all is said and done, the prosecution in San Bernardino County is expected to cost taxpayers significantly, Canty said.

Experts and witnesses from three other counties have to take time off from work, travel to San Bernardino and stay in hotels while testifying in the case, he said.

Attorneys and investigators from here also have had to travel to Humboldt, Kern and San Joaquin counties to prepare for trial.

While Canty would not discuss any of the evidence against his client, he did say that Ford had a conscience that led to turning himself in. Authorities have described Ford as a depressed and emotionally unstable man who cries at times.

After more than seven years in jail, Ford is ready for a jury to determine his fate. But, Canty said, "nobody looks forward to facing capital murder charges.''

*****

TIMELINE: WAYNE ADAM FORD

Oct. 14, 1997 - Allegedly picked up his first victim, who was only identified as Jane Doe. She was estimated to be 18 to 25 years old, a nonsmoker and had given birth.

Oct. 26, 1997 - A human torso, later determined to belong to victim No. 1, was found in a slough at the end of Park Street in Eureka in Humboldt County.

February 1998 - Started driving a long-haul truck.

May 1998 - Allegedly picked up his second victim, Tina Renee Gibbs, a Las Vegas prostitute.

June 2, 1998 - Gibbs' naked body found in the California Aqueduct, near the town of Buttonwillow in Kern County. An autopsy determined she died of strangulation.

September 1998 - Allegedly picked up his third victim, Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana, near an Ontario truck stop. Ford told detectives he paid her for sex, during which she died.

Sept. 25, 1998 - White's naked body was found in an irrigation canal near Lodi in San Joaquin County.

October 1998 - Allegedly picked up his fourth victim, Patricia Anne Tamez, 29, of Hesperia, by a convenience store. Ford told detectives he paid her for sex, during which she died.

Oct. 23, 1998 - Tamez's naked body was found in the California Aqueduct near Hesperia.

Nov. 2, 1998 - Ford reportedly called his brother, Rodney Calvin Ford, for help.

Nov. 3, 1998 - Ford walked into Humboldt County sheriff's station with his brother and told deputies that he had done "bad things.'' Over the next few days, Ford reportedly told detectives about the four dead victims.

 
 

Gruesome details fill opening of trucker serial killing trial

By Mike Cruz - DailyBulletin.com

March 13, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO - Grisly crime scene photos and graphic details about the deaths of four women two from San Bernardino County filled a prosecutor's opening statement Monday in the trial for Wayne Adam Ford.

A truck driver from Arcata, Ford could face the death penalty if convicted of charges that he killed four women across the state in 1997 and 1998. Testimony from witnesses is expected to begin today before Judge Michael A. Smith in San Bernardino Superior Court.

But while prosecutor David Mazurek may have shocked jurors with the gravity of the crimes the self-described serial killer is accused of committing, defense attorneys described Ford as a man who knew he had mental problems and sought help when he surrendered to police.

Ford was depressed and desperate when he walked into a Humboldt County sheriff's station on Nov. 3, 1998, with a Hesperia

woman's severed breast in his jacket pocket and told police it was "just the tip of the iceberg," according to Joseph Canty, deputy public defender.

Ford had a conscience, explained Canty, and he turned himself in "because he decided the killings had to stop."

The jury of six men and six women listened intently as Canty explained the root of Ford's problems, complicated by a failed marriage and dwindling chances to see his son, Max. Canty showed the jury a photograph of a pleasant time between father and son, when they visited a pumpkin patch in October 1997.

"And, in fact, this is the last time that Wayne Ford saw his son Max," Canty said.

Canty said Ford cried, felt shame and showed moral courage when he turned himself in to sheriff's deputies and gave up details about the deaths of the four victims. At the time, detectives had not solved the deaths, and Ford was not a suspect, said Canty.

But while Ford, 44, offered a lot, one of the few things he couldn't tell detectives was exactly how each woman died.

The victims were prostitutes that Ford reportedly picked up while on his truck routes, and he told police that he liked to have sex with them, according to the defense. But when the women would talk about their children, it would upset him.

Faced with the grief of his ex-wife not allowing him to spend time with Max, Ford told detectives every time he sees a baby, "I just lose it," Canty told the jury.

The defense also spoke of Ford's rough upbringing, with photos and descriptions of his mother as "cold" and his father, Gene Ford, who was always gone and "struck fear" when he was home.

Despite the mental problems, Canty made it clear that Ford was not seeking an insanity defense because he could tell the difference between right and wrong. Crippled inside and a broken man, Ford turned himself in because he wanted to do the right thing, Canty said.

However, prosecutors point to the deeply depraved way the four women were killed. Each was raped, tortured and used for the defendant's own sexual gratification, Mazurek said.

Each of the victims was then coldly discarded with no identification, no way to inform police and loved ones of their deaths, according to the prosecution.

"Wayne Adam Ford know's what he's done," Mazurek told the jury. "And he knows what he is."

During his opening statement, Mazurek used an electronic presentation to show the jury photographs of the severed breast that belonged to Patricia Tamez, 29, of Hesperia.

The prosecution also showed the jury crime scene images of Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana, whose decomposing, nude body with a blackened head, was found floating in an irrigation canal off Highway 12, near Lodi, in San Joaquin County in Sept. 25, 1998.

"He had killed her a couple of days before, and he had driven around with her in his truck for a while," Mazurek said. White's head turned black because lying against the truck's hot floorboards, it decomposed faster, he explained.

Blood evidence was later found on the floor of Ford's truck, Mazurek said. Swabs, which tested positive for sperm content that linked to Ford, were taken from Tamez and Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, who was a known prostitute from the Las Vegas area.

Gibbs' nude body was found in an aqueduct near the town of Buttonwillow, in Kern County, in June 1998. She died of strangulation but was not dismembered.

Ford's first victim was not as lucky. Identified still as Jane Doe, the woman's torso devoid of a head, arms, legs and breasts was found in a slough near Eureka, in Humboldt County, on Oct. 26, 1997.

The torso had been stabbed 27 times in the back and buttocks and cut down the middle, according to authorities.

The unidentified woman's thighs and boiled breasts were found at a campsite where Ford lived after he left his Arcata trailer. Evidence of the woman's body parts, and the bathtub in which they were cut, were found at the trailer, Mazurek said.

A coffee can with rendered fat from the woman's breasts was also found at the trailer.

"The evidence will show none of these girls died accidentally," Mazurek told the jury.

 
 

Defense to present case in Ford trial

April 24, 2006

Defense attorneys for confessed serial killer Wayne Adam Ford are expected to begin laying out their side of the case today when they take the reins in the Arcata man's murder trial.

Prosecutors wrapped up their case April 12, and San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith granted a break for the defense to schedule witnesses and prepare.

Ford is charged with killing four women in 1997 and 1998. Ford, a truck driver, surrendered to Humboldt County sheriff's deputies after walking into a sheriff's station Nov. 3, 1998, with a woman's severed breast in his jacket pocket.

He is accused of killing Lannett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana; Patricia Tamez, 29, of Hesperia; Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las Vegas; and an unidentified woman whose torso was found in a slough near Eureka.

In opening statements to jurors in March, defense attorneys Joseph Canty and Steve Mapes pointed to Ford's failed

marriage with his ex-wife, his lack of opportunities to see his son and a rough upbringing as possible causes of his behavior.

In an earlier jailhouse interview, Ford said he suffered a head injury in a traffic collision in Irvine in 1984 that might have affected him.

If Ford is convicted, prosecutor David Mazurek has said he would push for the death penalty. If Ford is convicted, jurors would then hear evidence supporting and opposing the death penalty.

Court proceedings resume at 9:30 a.m. today at the Central Courthouse in San Bernardino.

 
 

Self-confessed serial killer's testimony could be limited

April 25, 2006

Family and friends of Wayne Adam Ford might be limited in what they can say from the witness stand about the confessed serial killer.

The issue was raised the first day defense attorneys began to unveil their case in Ford's murder trial in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Prosecutor David Mazurek objected Monday to possible testimony about the defendant's upbringing after reviewing a list of defense witnesses that included Ford's close friends and family.

"I don't think they're particularly relevant to the guilt phase of the trial," Mazurek told Superior Court Judge Michael A. Smith, after the jury was released for the day.

Issues about how Ford was raised as a child and whether his mother loved him, which Mazurek suspects will be covered, are better suited for the trial's penalty phase if Ford is convicted, he said.

"I don't think I need to litigate his entire childhood," Mazurek said.

But defense attorney Joseph Canty disagreed, saying childhood issues and family history "are clearly relevant" because they speak to Ford's overall psychological makeup.

Mazurek raised the objection after testimony concluded for the day. The judge is expected to decide on the matter today.

A truck driver from Arcata, Ford is on trial for the deaths of four women statewide in 1997 and 1998, including one from Fontana and one from Hesperia.

Ford turned himself in to sheriff's deputies in Humboldt County on Nov. 3, 1998. At the time, authorities were not looking for Ford. Deputies found a severed female breast in a plastic bag inside his jacket pocket.

During opening statements March 13, Canty pointed to Ford's failed marriage, a lack of opportunities to see his son and a rough upbringing as possible causes for his behavior. Ford also spoke of a head injury he suffered at a traffic collision in Irvine in 1994, in a jailhouse interview.

On Monday, defense attorneys tried to highlight Ford's religious interests and discredit testimony from a prostitute referred to in court as Sonoma County Doe, who testified more than a week ago about her experiences with Ford.

Ballard Anderson Lowery Jr., testified that he owned a Christian bookstore in McKinleyville, near Eureka, that Ford visited monthly over a one- to two-year period.

"He would come in my store and talk," Lowery said. Ford, confused and concerned, had told the store owner about his son, Max, and problems he had with the child's mother.

"Basically, when he first came in, he didn't think he had a conscience," Lowery testified. The store owner told Ford he had to have a conscience or he wouldn't be there, he said.

Occasionally, Ford would also buy items from the bookstore. Defense attorneys revealed several weeks ago that Ford had a box of cassette tapes of the Bible among his belongings.

But Mazurek pointed out that Lowery told police detectives the defendant only bought the religious items to appease the store owner for taking up his time. Lowery testified that he didn't know if Ford ever used the items.

The case is one of the first in the state to be tried under a serial-killer law, which allows murders that occurred in multiple jurisdictions to be consolidated and tried in one court.

Ford is accused of killing Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las Vegas; Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana; Patricia Tamez, 29, of Hesperia; and an unidentified woman whose torso was found in a slough near Eureka.

In interviews with police detectives, Ford said his victims had been talking about babies just before they died. The subject depressed Ford because it reminded him of his son.

While having sex with his victims, Ford told detectives he would get rough. He would squeeze their necks until they passed out, and then use CPR to revive them.

Pentecostal pastor James C. Ray of McKinleyville told jurors Monday he met Ford at Humboldt County Jail, while ministering, singing and praying with inmates there.

"Most of what we spoke about was spiritual aspects . . . conviction, remorse, forgiveness," Ray testified. Ford would even sing some Southern gospel hymns with the pastor, but he didn't speak about his suspected crimes, he said.

"He asked if I thought God would forgive him," Ray said. "And all I could do was tell him what the Scriptures says."

 
 

Serial killing suspect Ford rarely spent time with son

May 20, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO - Elizabeth Ault, ex-wife of confessed serial killer Wayne Adam Ford, dabbed at her eyes Wednesday as she testified that her young son rarely received attention from his father.

Ault was 21 when she met Ford through a mutual friend in 1994. The couple married -- it was Ford's second -- and made a home together in San Clemente. They had a son, Max.

Four years later, Ford turned himself in to Humboldt County sheriff's deputies with a woman's severed breast in his jacket pocket.

Ford, an Arcata truck driver, is on trial in San Bernardino Superior Court on charges of killing four women in the state, including one from Fontana and one from Hesperia.

In opening statements March 13, defense attorney Joseph Canty pointed to Ford's failed marriage, lack of opportunities to see his son and and a rough upbringing as possible causes for his behavior.

Ault insisted Wednesday that although she encouraged her ex-husband to spend time with his son, Ford made little effort to see him after the divorce.

‘‘He would hold (Max) until he cried and would give him back to me,'' she testified.

Ford never fed or bathed his son and only once did he change his diaper, Ault said.

The father-son relationship did not improve when the family moved into a small apartment in Las Vegas in 1996. Ford was not working, and it was not long before Ault left him, moving upstairs into an apartment with her mother.

Ault filed for divorce, which became final in April 1998. A custody agreement allowed Ford to have his son one week every three months and every other December for the holidays.

Ford did not call his son and only visited him on his second birthday, Ault said.

She told jurors that she once arranged to bring Max to see his father during a California theme park vacation she had planned with her then-boyfriend and his son.

Ford took Max on a walk along the shore near San Luis Obispo but spent only 90 minutes with him out of a six-hour visit, Ault testified.

Ault was barred Wednesday from talking about any discussions or incidents that happened during the course of the marriage because Judge Michael A. Smith ruled that information was privileged through the marriage.

She did say, however, that she often encouraged Ford to visit their son and denied hiding Max at any point.

‘‘Since I left him, it was my fault he couldn't see Max,'' Ault said bitterly, recounting Ford's response to her pleas to spend time with his son.

Kelly Pletcher, Ford's first wife, met him on a blind date in 1980 and married him months later.

Her testimony Wednesday was short and focused on a car accident that Ford, who was in the Marine Corps at the time, was involved in near Irvine a month after they met.

Driving home from dinner one night, the couple passed a two-car accident on the side of the road and stopped to help. Leaving Ford behind, Pletcher drove to the next exit and called 911.

When she returned to the scene 15 minutes later, Ford was nowhere to be found. Thinking he had walked back to El Toro Marine Corps Air Station, where he was stationed at the time, she returned to her dorm room at UC Irvine.

It wasn't until the next morning that she received a phone call from the hospital telling her Ford had been hit by a car and was asking for her.

‘‘His face was severely swollen. He was missing teeth. His eyes were black and blue. His head was about twice the (normal) size,'' she said.

Ford spoke of the head injury he received in the accident during a jailhouse interview in 1994.

He was conscious the entire time and was never in a coma, Pletcher testified, though police reports say Pletcher had previously said Ford was in a coma for his nine-day stay in the hospital.

Ford and Pletcher married in May 1981 and divorced in August 1984.

The cross-examination of Ault is expected to begin at 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning.

 
 

Ford trial turns a corner

June 8, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO - Three months of testimony in the trial of confessed serial killer Wayne Adam Ford ended with little fanfare Wednesday.

Attorneys on each side are set to make their closing arguments to jurors Tuesday in San Bernardino Superior Court.

The jury then will decide whether the Arcata truck driver is responsible for the deaths of four women, including two from San Bernardino County, in a sex-laced killing spree in California in 1997 and 1998.

If the jury convicts Ford of capital murder, jurors would then determine whether he should be put to death.

Among the victims were Lanett Deyon White of Fontana, and Patricia Tamez of Hesperia.

Ford had Tamez's severed breast in a plastic bag in his pocket when he surrendered to authorities at the Humboldt County sheriff's station on Nov. 3, 1998, according to trial testimony.

A gag order prevents the attorneys from commenting on the case.

On Wednesday, defense attorneys Joseph Canty and Steven Mapes filed a motion to throw out the testimony of Newport Beach-based forensic psychiatrist Park Dietz because he is not licensed to practice medicine in California, they said.

Dietz, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, has consulted in such high-profile cases as Jeffrey Dahmer, the Menendez Brothers, John Hinkley Jr., the New York Zodiac killer and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

The prosecution's final witness, Dietz testified for several days at a rate of $650 per hour about his observations of Ford and challenged some of the theories and testimony from key defense forensic psychiatrist Reid Meloy.

Prosecutor David Mazurek responded to the defense motion on Wednesday by stating that Dietz graduated from medical school, is licensed in at least one other state and doesn't need to be licensed in California to testify as an expert.

Judge Michael A. Smith denied the defense's motion.

"I think (Dietz) is qualified as an expert and qualified to render the opinions he has rendered," Smith said.

Dietz had testified that he disagreed with Meloy about Ford being unique in surrendering to authorities. Dietz said he knew of eight previous cases in which serial killers turned themselves in.

Ford eagerly assisted his attorneys during most of the trial. He got emotional, looking down and dabbing at his eyes, when his brother and two ex-wives testified.

To explain Ford's behavior, defense attorneys pointed to his failed marriage, the loss of time with his young son, Max, and a rough upbringing. Ford also has cited a head injury Ford received in a traffic collision while he was in the Marines in 1984.

The defendant's victims often were prostitutes, bound during sex or subjected to sexual asphyxiation, then dumped in or near bodies of water.

In addition to White and Tamez, Ford is accused of murdering Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las Vegas and an unidentified woman whose torso was found in a slough near Eureka.

The nude body of Gibbs was found in an aqueduct near Buttonwillow in Kern County in June 1998. White's body was discovered nude and floating in an irrigation canal near Lodi in San Joaquin County in September 1998.

Authorities found Tamez's nude body in the California Aqueduct near Hesperia in October 1998. The unidentified victim, found near Eureka in October 1997, had been dismembered, stabbed 27 times and cut down the middle.

 
 

Confessed Serial Killer's Trial Wrapping Up

June 15, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. The defense has begun its closing argument in the trial of confessed serial killer Wayne Adam Ford.

Deputy Public Defender Steve Mapes says Ford showed remorse after the killings, telling jurors they need to understand his state of mind.

A prosecutor earlier told jurors the former truck driver committed "monstrous acts" to satiate sadistic desires when he preyed upon and killed four women over a four-year period before turning himself in.

Ford, accompanied by his brother, walked into a Humboldt County sheriff's station in November 1998 with the severed breast of one of the victims. He told authorities it represented "just the tip of the iceberg."

If convicted, Ford could face the death penalty.

 
 

Ford Murder Trial Ends With Taped Confession

June 16, 2006

The night Wayne Adam Ford confessed to four grisly killings, he struggled to remember his own address and phone number, and fumbled through the simple task of removing his socks and combat boots.

In a November 1998 videotape of Ford's interview with detectives, which defense lawyers played for jurors Thursday in their closing arguments of his serial murder trial, Ford slumped against a padded wall of the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department after turning himself in.

Disheveled in a gray sweatshirt and dirty bluejeans, he told officers that he had sought help for the problems in "my head," but nothing worked.

"I didn't want to hurt people," he sobbed as an officer patted his knee and told him authorities weren't going to kill him as Ford feared. "I hurt people. That's why you guys just have to keep me."

The tape offered a dramatic end to Ford's three-month murder trial in San Bernardino County Superior Court, where a jury of seven women and five men is scheduled to begin deliberations on the four counts of first-degree murder filed against the long-haul trucker from Arcata, Calif.

Ford, 44, is accused of killing four women whose nude bodies were found — some strangled, others dismembered — in four California counties.

Deputy Dist. Atty. J. David Mazurek told jurors that Ford was a sadistic killer who prowled the roadways for vulnerable women he could subject to his twisted sexual fantasies as he beat and raped them before killing them for pleasure. Mazurek is seeking first-degree murder convictions in all four cases and to send Ford to death row.

But Ford's public defender, Joseph D. Canty Jr., asked jurors to look at the teary man in the video and decide whether he was the "monster" without a conscience whom prosecutors described.

Canty said they should consider whether mental disorders could have prevented Ford from forming an intent to kill the four women, which could be critical in determining first-degree murder.

Steering the jury toward a conviction on a lesser charge of second-degree murder or involuntary manslaughter would make Ford ineligible for the death penalty.

Canty argued that Ford was mired in depression, angry at his former wife — who he claimed was preventing him from seeing his young son — and struggling with other psychological problems including borderline personality disorder.

Those pressures, Canty said, clouded Ford's thoughts to the point where he may not have realized the consequences of his favored sexual ritual, which included binding the women and strangling them during sex, which he said was to enhance their pleasure.

Canty said Ford's videotaped confession showed that he was aware that he could not control his impulses.

"We know that a person who dismembers a human being is severely disturbed," Canty said in his closing argument — acknowledging that the jury must have been horrified by Ford's killings. "Someone who turns himself in and wishes to stop killing must have suffered the same horror himself. He must have had difficulty imagining that he could do these things.

"He wants to stop…. That's what gets him into that jail," Canty said.

The body of Ford's first victim was so mutilated that she has not been identified and is known as Humboldt County Jane Doe.

Ford is also charged in the deaths of prostitutes Patricia Ann Tamez, 29, of Hesperia; Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las Vegas; and Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana.

The jury will begin deliberations Monday.

 
 

Serial killer masqueraded as quiet trucker, ideal employee

June 27, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. - Neighbors and co-workers knew Wayne Adam Ford was a handsome, clean-cut trucker, a hard worker who kept his rig impeccably clean during long hauls.

But Ford, who often kept to himself, had a dark secret: He was a brutal serial killer who preyed upon prostitutes and hitchhikers for sex and then left their dismembered and mutilated bodies scattered throughout California.

On Nov. 3, 1998, Ford confessed. He walked into the Humboldt County Sheriff's station with a severed breast in a Ziploc baggie and told deputies the body part represented "the tip of the iceberg."

On Tuesday, a jury unanimously convicted Ford, now 44, of first-degree murder in the slayings of four women whose bodies - or body parts - were found in sloughs, riverbeds, aqueducts and campsites across California.

The panel of seven women and five men also found true the special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The women were Patricia Tamez, 29, of Hesperia; Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana; Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las Vegas; and an unidentified woman whose torso was found in a slough.

"It's what we were seeking in this particular phase of the trial but we have a lot of work left," said Deputy District Attorney Dave Mazurek. "It's been a long time coming to trial."

Mazurek and Ford's defense team would not say anything further, citing a gag order and the upcoming penalty phase of the trial, which will begin July 12. Jurors were instructed not to talk as well.

The conviction marks one of the final chapters in a case that initially puzzled investigators who came across a gruesome trail of crime scenes littered with mutilated body parts. At one of Ford's old campsites, authorities found an unidentified woman's thighs and boiled breasts wrapped in plastic and stuffed in a tree stump.

Ford quickly confessed to picking up a Washington state woman later identified as Gibbs and he also said he killed White, whose body was found near Lodi

Tamez's body was found in late October 1998, just weeks before Ford's confession, in the California Aqueduct near Interstate 15 outside Hesperia. Her body was missing a breast that was later determined to be the one in Ford's pocket.

Ford also told investigators he killed and dismembered the unidentified woman whose headless torso was found near Eureka in October 1997. Ford told investigators he had buried the head in the channel of the Mad River, but it was never found.

Ford's trial was delayed for years while higher courts decided the constitutionality of a state law that allows authorities to consolidate related killings into one jurisdiction.

At the time, Ford's arrest shocked his friends and co-workers, who knew him as a polite former military man who was haunted by the fact that his ex-wife wouldn't let him see his then 3-year-old son, who lived with her in Las Vegas.

"He was clean-cut. He always kept his truck clean. Now we know why," Dennis Keehn, his boss at Edeline Enterprises in Arcata, said in a 1998 interview with The Associated Press. "All indications were he loved his job. Then look what he was. God almighty."

Neighbors from his mobile home in Arcata, on the Northern California coast, said Ford was handsome and affable, always quick to share cigarettes and a joke.

"I thought he was good-looking," neighbor Shelley McCuen said at the time. "I never had time to flirt with him."

Although Ford confessed, defense attorneys raised questions about his state of mind leading up to and during the killings. The defense focused on his troubled past, which his lawyers said included a failed marriage, a lack of time with his son, a difficult childhood and a head injury he suffered in a 1984 traffic collision.

His attorneys said he suffered from mental problems and was remorseful and conflicted about the killings but decided to surrender to authorities.

A prostitute who testified during the trial said Ford choked her during sex and then showed her a photograph of his ex-wife and their son. She said Ford cried and claimed his behavior was revenge against his ex-wife.

Born in Petaluma, Ford graduated from Arcata High School in 1980 and joined the Marines. He was discharged in 1985 and lived in Big Bear and San Clemente before moving with his wife and young son to Las Vegas.

The couple split in 1996 and Ford moved back to Arcata, where he found work driving a cement truck. He was laid off that winter, but got a job as a long-haul trucker at Edeline Enterprises, where he impressed his co-workers - some of whom even said they would trust him to date their female relatives.

"If you went down to Eureka or Arcata at night, you would see some characters that might make you wonder about packing a firearm," Keehn said. "But this guy, you wouldn't worry about him."

 
 

Ford guilty on all counts

Prosecutors plan to seek death penalty

By Mike Cruz - San Bernardino Sun

June 28, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO - When confessed serial killer Wayne Adam Ford surrendered to authorities in Northern California more than seven years ago, he said he wanted the system to do its job - and punish him.

On Tuesday, a jury found Ford guilty of first-degree murder in the sex-laced deaths of four women, including victims from Fontana and Hesperia, in 1997 and 1998. His trial now moves into the penalty phase where prosecutors will seek the death penalty.

With hands clasped and resting at his mouth, Ford looked straight ahead as the court clerk read the verdict a few minutes after 2 p.m. in San Bernardino Superior Court.

One by one, the clerk read each of four counts of first-degree murder and the jury's findings: Guilty. The seven-man, five-woman jury also found true the special circumstance against Ford for committing multiple murders.

"We got what we were seeking, and it's on to what this case is all about," prosecutor David Mazurek said outside the courtroom.

Opening arguments in the penalty phase are scheduled for July 12.

During the verdict reading, Ford turned briefly to speak with his attorneys and then watched each juror as the judge polled them for their individual verdicts.

The usually smiling and sometimes lighthearted jury instead sat in the jury box with serious faces and saying little to one another.

The 12-person jury had been deliberating for more than a week, mulling scores of reports, evaluations, interviews and court testimony about the truck driver from Arcata.

Ford, 44, was convicted of the deaths of Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las Vegas; Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana; Patricia Ann Tamez, 29, of Hesperia; and an unidentified woman whose torso was discovered in a slough near Eureka.

Defense attorneys Joseph Canty and Steven Mapes lingered in the courtroom well after sheriff's deputies escorted Ford back to a holding cell in the Central Courthouse. They declined to comment, citing a gag order in the case.

Ford surrendered to authorities at the Humboldt County sheriff's station with a woman's severed breast in his jacket pocket on Nov. 3, 1998. In interviews with detectives during the days following his surrender, Ford confessed the details of his vicious crimes.

The victims were killed during sexual relations with Ford that grew rough and aggressive, sometimes including asphyxiation, bondage, striking and burning.

Ford told authorities some of his victims would pass out and he would revive them with CPR and continue having sex with them. There were reportedly many other women who had sex with Ford and survived, according to court testimony.

Defense attorneys portrayed Ford as having a rough upbringing, including a cold, abusive father and a mother who he believed abandoned him.

The defendant also reportedly suffered a head injury during a traffic collision in Irvine in 1984, but records of his hospitalization no longer exist because the hospital closed, according to court testimony.

Later in life, Ford suffered through a difficult divorce with his second wife and lacked opportunities to see his son, Max, his defense attorneys said.

The defense suffered a significant blow early on in its case when Judge Michael A. Smith refused to allow Ford's family members and friends to testify during the trial. Their testimony, Smith ruled, was better suited in the penalty phase.

During closing arguments, Mapes told jurors that they had to consider the evidence in light of Ford's impaired mental state and personality disorders.

"What we have to do in this case is put ourselves in someone else's shoes," Mapes told the jury.

The defense insisted the jury consider what Ford was going through at the time, his mental state and whether he had the capacity to properly weigh the pros and cons of his actions, Mapes said.

"There's no way you can decide this case without going into Mr. Ford's mind," Mapes said.

But Mazurek told jurors there was no evidence Ford was mentally ill, describing him as a sadistic monster who preyed on women to satisfy his sexual appetite.

The victims' bodies were found nude and in various states of decomposition in bodies of water around the state. Ford's DNA was found on some of the victims.

Mazurek described the trial as "one of the most difficult cases I've had to deal with" in terms of lining up witnesses and keeping track of the more than 400 exhibits.

The prosecution declined to offer any hints about what might be coming during the penalty phase, including whether victim's families might testify or how many witnesses could be expected.

Both sides anticipated the penalty phase would last until the end of July or early August.

"We have a lot of work left ahead of us," Mazurek said.

 
 

Ford, self-confessed serial killer, guilty of murdering 4 women

June 29, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO - When confessed serial killer Wayne Adam Ford surrendered to authorities in Northern California more than seven years ago, he said he wanted the system to do its job and punish him.

On Tuesday, a jury found Ford guilty of first-degree murder in the sex-laced deaths of four women, including victims from Fontana and Hesperia, in 1997 and 1998. His trial now moves into the penalty phase where prosecutors will seek the death penalty. With hands clasped and resting at his mouth, Ford looked straight ahead as the court clerk read the verdict a few minutes after 2 p.m. in San Bernardino County Superior Court.

One by one, the clerk read each of four counts of first-degree murder and the jury's findings: guilty. The seven-man, five-woman jury also found true the special circumstance against Ford for committing multiple murders.

"We got what we were seeking, and it's on to what this case is all about," prosecutor David Mazurek said outside the courtroom.

Opening arguments in the penalty phase are scheduled for July 12.

During the verdict reading, Ford turned briefly to speak with his attorneys and then watched each juror as the judge polled them for their individual verdicts.

The usually smiling and sometimes lighthearted jury instead sat in the jury box with serious faces and saying little to one another.

The 12-person jury had been deliberating for more than a week, mulling over scores of reports, evaluations, interviews and court testimony about the truck driver from Arcata.

Ford, 44, was convicted of the deaths of Tina Renee Gibbs, 26, of Las Vegas; Lanett Deyon White, 25, of Fontana; Patricia Ann Tamez, 29, of Hesperia; and an unidentified woman whose torso was discovered in a slough near Eureka.

Defense attorneys Joseph Canty and Steven Mapes lingered in the courtroom well after deputies escorted Ford back to a holding cell in the courthouse. They declined to comment, citing a gag order in the case.

Ford surrendered to authorities at the Humboldt County Sheriff's station with a woman's severed breast in his jacket pocket on Nov. 3, 1998. In interviews with detectives during the days following his surrender, Ford confessed the details of his vicious crimes.

The victims, usually prostitutes, were killed during sexual relations with Ford that grew rough and aggressive, sometimes including asphyxiation, bondage, striking and burning.

Ford told authorities some of his victims would pass out and he would revive them with CPR and continue having sex with them. There were reportedly many other women who had sex with Ford and survived, according to court testimony.

Defense attorneys portrayed Ford as having a rough upbringing, including a cold, abusive father and a mother who he believed abandoned him.

The defendant also reportedly suffered a head injury during a traffic collision in Irvine in 1984, but records of his hospitalization no longer exist because the hospital closed, according to court testimony.

Later in life, Ford suffered through a difficult divorce with his second wife and had a lack of opportunities to see his son, Max, his defense attorneys said.

The defense suffered a significant blow early on in its case when Judge Michael A. Smith refused to allow Ford's family members and friends to testify during the trial. Their testimony, Smith ruled, was better suited in the penalty phase.

During closing arguments, Mapes told jurors that they had to consider the evidence in light of Ford's impaired mental state and personality disorders.

"What we have to do in this case is put ourselves in someone else's shoes," Mapes told the jury.

The defense insisted the jury consider what Ford was going through at the time, his mental state and whether he had the capacity to properly weigh the pros and cons of his actions, Mapes said.

"There's no way you can decide this case without going into Mr. Ford's mind," Mapes said.

But Mazurek countered defense arguments to jurors, saying there was no evidence Ford was mentally ill, describing him as a sadistic monster who preyed on women to satisfy his sexual appetite.

The victims' bodies were found nude and various states of decomposition in bodies of water across the state. Ford's DNA was found on some of the victims.

Mazurek described the trial as "one of the most difficult cases I've had to deal with" in terms of lining up witnesses and keeping track of the more than 400 exhibits.

"It's been a long time coming to trial," Mazurek said. He said he believed he had a strong case but still was unsure how the jurors would respond.

The prosecution declined to offer any hints about what might be coming during the penalty phase, including whether victim's families might testify or how many witnesses could be expected.

Both sides anticipated the penalty phase would last until the end of July or early August.

"We have a lot of work left ahead of us," Mazurek said.

 
 

Jury: Death for Ford

By Mike Cruz - San Bernardino Sun

August 10, 2006

SAN BERNARDINO - Convicted serial killer Wayne Adam Ford should be put to death for slaying four women in the late 1990s, a jury announced Thursday after deliberating for two weeks.

Ford, whose victims included women from Fontana and Hesperia, entered the packed, buzzing courtroom that hushed when the jury entered. Ford sat at the defense table with his back to the audience while the verdict was read. The room remained quiet.

After the verdict, three jurors on the case said they didn't buy into the defense's arguments that Ford suffered from a mental illness that led him to kill four women in 1997 and 1998. During deliberations, the panel gave more weight to the crimes Ford committed, the jurors said, and evidence that he may have lied about what he recalled of those crimes.

The jury credited Ford's brother, Rodney Ford, for making the defendant turn himself into the Humboldt County sheriff's officials in November 1998. Ford had a severed breast in plastic bag in his jacket pocket.

"He knew right from wrong. He knew what he was doing," said juror Darlena Murray, a teacher at San Gorgonio High School in San Bernardino. As for why Ford may have committed the crimes, Murray wasn't completely sure.

"Self-gratification is all we can come up with," said Murray, 47, who lives in Highland.

Ford is expected back in San Bernardino Superior Court for sentencing on Oct. 20. His case was one of the first to fall under a state law that allowed authorities to consolidate multiple murders into one trial.

Prosecutor David Mazurek paced anxiously in the courtroom before the verdict, but later said he was pleased with the jury's decision.

"If there ever was a defendant who deserved the death penalty, this is the one," Mazurek said outside the courthouse. The verdict brings justice to the victims' families after eight years, he said.

The first victim in the case, a hiker, has yet to be identified by authorities. Her dismembered torso was found in a slough near Eureka.

Other victims -- Tina Rene Gibbs, of Las Vegas; Lanett Deyon White, of Fontana; and Patricia Anne Tamez, of Hesperia -- had sexual encounters with Ford that ended in their deaths, according to court testimony.

Ford reportedly had rough sex with the victims, often binding them and using sexual asphyxiation. If the women stopped breathing, Ford told authorities he would revive them using CPR.

But Ford stopped short in his statement to police, and claimed he couldn't remember exactly how the victims died.

Jurors said Thursday they doubted Ford's story, and that his outburst in court during the testimony of Tamez's father, Rudolfo Tamez, had a major impact on their decision.

As the father testified about the use of sexual asphyxiation on his daughter, Ford shouted, "That's not true. It never happened."

The incident opened jurors' eyes, they said.

"That made an impact on us," said Murray, noting that the whole jury jumped when Ford spoke. "That told us right there that he was lying. If he knew that, then he knew what he did with the others. So there was no amnesia."

Witnesses at the trial testified that three of the victims were prostitutes, but jurors said that did not factor into their decision.

"They're people. And they didn't deserve this," said juror Debi Bain, 51, of San Bernardino.

Because many of the jurors have children themselves, they found themselves relating to the victims' parents, they said.

"It's hard to think of your children going through that," Bain said.

Jurors also gave a significant amount of weight to the testimony of a Sonoma County woman who testified that she was raped and strangled by Ford but survived.

The fact that Ford ate meals, made deliveries and dumped the bodies of his victims told jurors the Arcata truck driver felt little for his victims.

"There was no sign of remorse," said Elecia Morris, 25, who lives in Montclair and works for the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.

During trial, defense attorneys Joseph Canty and Steven Mapes asked jurors to put themselves in Ford's shoes, imagine the rough childhood he endured, the failed relationships, the difficult divorce from his second wife and the few chances he had to spend time with his son.

The defense also asked jurors to remember that Ford turned himself in to authorities at a time when little was known about the victims' deaths.

Canty said after the hearing Thursday that he was disappointed Ford's surrender did not carry more sway in jury room.

"We felt that we had the possibility of a better verdict because of the fact that he had surrendered himself to the police, when they had no idea who had committed the crimes," Canty said in a telephone interview.

At Ford's sentencing in October, a judge may hear motions seeking a new trial or a reduction in the penalty. Should those motions fail, Ford would be entitled to an automatic appeal of his case.

Appeals in death-penalty cases can take may years, Canty said. Ford would get a new attorney for the appeals process.

 

 
 
 
 
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