Convicted murderer sentenced to life in prison for girlfriend’s slaying

Timothy James Wright, 36, of Betsy Kerrison Parkway on Johns Island was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in the death of Melinda Ford.

A Johns Island man convicted in the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend will spend the rest of his life in prison, a judge decided Thursday in a Charleston County courtroom.

A three-day trial ended Wednesday with a jury convicting Timothy James Wright, 36, of murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime.

“Too many times cases like this are viewed as ‘different’ somehow, when what they really are is straight-up murder,” 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said of domestic violence cases shortly after Wright’s sentence was announced. “We are grateful the judge and jury saw it for what it was and gave the defendant the max.”

Wright was named a suspect Feb. 16, 2013, after Melinda Ford, 37, was found dead from a shotgun blast to the chest outside her home on Betsy Kerrison Parkway.

The woman’s daughter at the time told Charleston County sheriff’s deputies she had heard her mother cry out for help, then saw Wright holding a shotgun.

Deputies spotted Wright in a white Nissan pickup shortly after the shooting and tried to stop him, but he kept driving, authorities said. He drove the truck through a baseball field and into a fence before wrecking and continuing to flee on foot.

Wright later surrendered to deputies and was transported to a hospital for treatment of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He remained at the Charleston County jail until his trial this week.

Ford left behind three children. She worked as a deli clerk at Newton Farms on Freshfields Drive on Johns Island near Kiawah Island.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.