A Johns Island man accused of killing his girlfriend a week ago waited outside in his truck until she came out of the house, then shot her to death as she tried to get into her car, according to a detective’s affidavit released Sunday.
One of the slain woman’s daughters heard her mother cry for help, came out of the house and saw the killer holding the shotgun before he took off, according to the affidavit.
Timothy James Wright, 34, is charged with murder in the death of Melinda Ford, 37, outside the house where they lived on Betsy Kerrison Parkway. He showed up for his first court appearance Sunday, after spending a week in the hospital after the shooting.
About two dozen of Ford’s family members attended the bond hearing, still groping for answers in a killing they say they can’t understand.
Wright, sitting in a wheelchair in a room at the county jail, appeared in the courtroom on a television monitor. He said little as Magistrate Priscilla Baldwin conducted the hearing.
Barbara Binion, a victim’s advocate with the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office, spoke on behalf of the family.
“They just can’t believe this has happened,” she said. “It has torn the family apart. They’ll never get over it.”
A magistrate can’t set bail on a murder charge. Baldwin set Wright’s bail at $100,000 on a charge of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Ford’s family members embraced each other outside after the hearing. Her oldest daughter, Chrisshon Ford, 19, said the family still has no clue why Wright might have killed her mother. Wright had been living with her mother for about nine months, and they seemed like a happy couple, she said.
“It came out of nowhere,” she said. “They never had any arguments.”
Melinda Ford’s mother, Kate Ford, also said she could not understand it.
“He killed her for nothing, no reason,” she said, fighting back tears. “It seemed like he was so nice. My grandson would rather be with him than his own dad.”
Deputies were called to Ford’s house about 6:30 p.m. Feb. 16 to check out a reported shooting. They found Melinda Ford dead in the back yard from a shotgun wound to the chest, according to the incident report and affidavit.
Witnesses told deputies Wright took off in a white Nissan pickup. They spotted the truck and tried to stop it, and Wright kept driving, according to the incident report. He drove through a baseball field and a fence before wrecking the truck and taking off on foot. He surrendered to deputies about 1 a.m. after a manhunt and was taken to a hospital for treatment of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Ford left behind three children. She worked as a deli clerk at Newton Farms on Freshfields Drive on Johns Island near Kiawah Island.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.