Split verdict issued in dispute between divorced couple

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

by Clint Confehr

Staff Writer

A Marshall County jury delivered a split verdict on Thursday in a case that's described by one of the defense attorneys as a domestic dispute that probably didn't need a criminal trial.

"The case came down to whether it was a simple matter of personal conduct or attempted burglary," defense attorney C. Kelly Wilson said for his client Mitchell Jarod Ford, 29, of Nashville Highway, Lewisburg.

Ford was charged with aggravated assault, attempted aggravated burglary, assault, vandalism, resisting arrest and evading arrest in a trailer park during the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 3 after a conflict with his ex-wife, Dawn Ford, Wilson said. The Fords argued over their two children and her boyfriend.

The Fords' divorce was uncontested, "but some issues spilled over," Wilson said.

A pre-trial hearing was conducted Feb. 7 on whether a belt wrapped around a fist is a weapon when breaking a window. Before the trial, Assistant District Attorneys Eddie Barnard and Brooke Grubb announced that the aggravated assault charge would not be prosecuted.

"There was no dispute that he broke her window," Wilson said. "He knocked on a door and a window, broke the window and ran."

Jurors found Ford not guilty of attempted aggravated burglary. Instead, they found him guilty of attempted aggravated trespassing, a misdemeanor. Guilty as charged, however, was the verdict on the charges of vandalism, resisting and evading arrest.

"We're very pleased with the outcome," said Wilson who defended Ford with his partner David McKenzie. "The Marshall County jury is to be commended for following the law as instructed by the judge."

Wilson said Ford is to be sentenced in early May by Judge Robert Crigler.